Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guild study shows gender split in radio and TV

After Vamps, Vixens and Feminists and Emily Glassberg Sands' report, here are some statistics produced by the Writers' Guild office (pdf). They looked at the TV and radio writers listed in the Radio Times over six weeks from 23rd May - 3rd July 2009.The bias towards men varies from 80%-20% one week to 65%-35% another. The average is well over 70% in favour of male writers.

Now it's time to ask what you think.

I'm narrowing it down a bit for the moment to TV, theatre and radio as those are the areas that have been discussed most so far. And I'm restricting it to the UK. Feel free to discuss discrimination in books or video games, or any other aspects of the subject, below.

So, do you think female writers in the UK (in TV, theatre and radio) are discriminated against? (See poll, right)

NB Emily Glassberg Sands' thesis about gender discrimination in American theatre is now online. Its conclusion is striking:
Scripts bearing female pen-names are deemed by artistic directors to be of lower overall quality and to face poorer economic prospects than otherwise identical scripts bearing male pen-names. In addition, artistic directors believe cast and crew will be less eager to work on a female-written script. Female artistic directors, in particular, deem scripts bearing female pen-names to be poorer fits with their theaters, and to face not only worker discrimination, but also customer discrimination. The severity of the discrimination against female playwrights appears to be more pronounced for women writing about women than for women writing about men.


  1. Anonymous10:20 am

    The problem with surveys like this is that they don't take into account the bigger picture. I don't think female writers are discriminated against in the above fields [at least not in the UK] I think it's just that female writers prefer print to drama. My evidence for this is simply the fact that if you look at agent lists for authors the ratio of female authors to male seems much greater. Maybe I'm just looking at the wrong agent lists :-)

  2. Agreed - a yes/no/don't know survey is pretty limited. But still interesting to hear what people think.

  3. Anonymous6:13 pm

    'Women writers are discriminated against,' she wittered.

  4. Anonymous10:38 pm

    I went to a comedy writing workshop a couple of months ago at the BBC with my writing partner (also female.)Other than one other woman we were the only female comedy writers out of twenty people. We have had quite positive feedback from comedy producers since then but it does feel very much a man's world. I had one male comedy writer ask me recently in all seriousness, after having come to see my sketch show which he very much enjoyed, why there were so few funny women. Hmmm.


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