When women are running the show, more women will get hired – be it as actors, directors, editors or producers. That is the – perhaps unsurprising – conclusion of a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. Among other findings, they found that shows with at least one female creator had a writing staff with about 50 percent women, while those shows with no female creators, only 15 percent in the writing room were women. “The findings suggest that creators and executive producers play an instrumental role in shifting the gender dynamics for both on-screen characters and other individuals working in powerful behind-the-scenes roles,” said Dr. Martha Lauzen, author of the report and executive director of the center. But generally speaking, women in television aren’t faring that great – and progress has stalled: in 2014-15, women accounted for only 42 percent of all speaking roles and 27 percent of all behind-the-scenes roles. “There is a perception gap between how people think women are faring in television, both on-screen and behind the scenes, and their actual employment. We are no longer experiencing the incremental growth we saw in the late 1990s and 2000s,” the report notes.
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