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Boxed In: Employment of Behind-the-Scenes Women in the 2011-12 Prime-time Television Season

Posted by Rena Sternfeld on October 10, 2012 in The search |

 

 

by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D.

 

Copyright © 2012– All rights reserved. _________________________________

 

Women comprised 26% of all individuals working as creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography on broadcast television programs during the 2011-12 prime-time season.  This represents an increase of one percentage point from last season (2010-2011) and an increase of 5 percentage points since 1997-98 (see Figure 1).

 

Changes of note over the last year include increases in the percentages of women creators (from 18% in 2010-11 to 26% in 2011-12) and executive producers (from 22% to 25%).  After a dramatic decline in the 2010-11 season, the percentage of women writers rebounded to 30% in 2011-12.  However, the percentage of women editors declined from 20% in 2010-11 to 13% in 2011-12.

 

This study tracks individuals working on one randomly selected episode of every prime-time drama, situation comedy, and reality series airing on ABC, CBS, CW,  Fox, and NBC.  It offers historical comparisons of employment figures from the most recently completed season with figures dating from the 1997-98 season.

 

 

 

Findings

 

•Overall, women fared best as producers (38%), followed by writers (30%), creators (26%), executive producers (25%), editors (13%), directors (11%),

and directors of photography (4%) (see Figure 2).

 

 

Figure 1.

Historical Comparison of Women Working Behind the Scenes in Prime-time Television


•The representation of behind-the- scenes women differs across program genres. Reality programs employed 21% women and 79% men.  Dramas and situation comedies employed 28% women and 72% men.

 

•Women comprised 26% of creators. This represents an increase of 8 percentage points from the 2010-11 season. 74% of programs employed no women creators (see Figure 3).

 

Figure 2.

Percent of Behind-the-Scenes Women and Men on Broadcast Programs during the 2011-12 Season

 

 

 

•Women accounted for 25% of executive producers. This represents an increase of 3 percentage points from 2010-11. 18% of programs employed no women executive producers.

 

•Women comprised 38% of producers. This represents an increase of one percentage point from 2010-11. 18% of programs had no female producers.

 

•Women accounted for 30% of writers. This represents an increase of 15 percentage points from the 2010-11 season. 68% of the programs employed no women writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3.

Historical Comparison of Percentages of Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women by Role

 

 

 

•Women comprised 11% of directors. This represents no change from 2010-11.  90% of programs employed no women directors.

 

•Women accounted for 13% of editors. This represents a decrease of 7 percentage points from 2010-11. 82% of programs employed no women editors.

 

•Women comprised 4% of directors of photography. This represents no change from 2010-11. 96% of programs employed no women directors of photography.

 

 

 

Report compiled by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, San Diego State University,  San Diego,619 594-6301

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