Study shows women still lagging behind on camera and behind the scenes in Hollywood


Producer and TV show creator Shonda Rhimes – Jay Goldman/Netflix
(LOS ANGELES) — According to a study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University, some women have made great strides in showbiz, while others continue to lag behind.

The study looked at basically every show on TV between 2017 and 2018, analyzing 4,833 characters and 5,195 behind-the-scenes credits.  And its findings are surprising.

Latinas fared best: The number of Latinas in television speaking roles in at an all-time high, at 7%, up from 5% in 2016-2017. However, they still remain the most underrepresented group of actresses compared to their population in the U.S.

More sobering is that in that same time, women in speaking roles overall have slightly declined to 40% of all roles on TV.  

The number of black and Asian women in speaking roles on TV held steady at 19% and 6%, respectively. White women had 67% of the speaking jobs; the remaining 1% was “other.”

More troubling is how women are represented.

“…[M]ale characters remain more likely than females to be…seen at work, actually working,” the report says. Seventy-six percent of male characters had “identifiable” jobs, compared to only 63% of women.

Women did top the males identified on TV in “personal life-oriented roles” — like “wife and mother.”

When it comes to behind-the-scenes work, despite the colossal success of women like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, there’s way more work to be done. 

The study says, “women comprised 27% of all creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography working on broadcast network, cable, and streaming programs.” This was down 1% from 2016-2017. 

Here’s the breakdown of how many women are doing which jobs in TV entertainment, according to the university study:

Producers — 40%
Executive producers — 26%
Writers — 25% 
Editors — 24%
Creators — 22%
Directors — 17%
Directors of photography — 3%

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