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US actress Taraji P.Henson blows a kiss at the 55th Monte-Carlo Television Festival on June 14, 2015. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Same old story

New study shows lack of representation for women in TV

By WITW Staff on September 15, 2017

While it might come as no surprise that women are still broadly mis- and underrepresented on television,The Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University now also has the numbers to prove it. A new study that looked at TV shows airing from September 2016 to May 2017 found that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to the representation of women on and behind the screen.

Some of the study’s main takeaways are that 68 percent of TV shows had more men than women on their casts, with female characters accounting for just 42 percent of speaking roles. Those women were also more likely than their male counterparts to be defined in terms of their personal life (i.e. as “mother” or “wife”) rather than their professions.

If you’re looking for a sliver of positive news, the study had some: Racial diversity on television seems to be improving, with roles for black women up to 21 percent (from 17 percent last year) and Asian women up to seven percent (from five percent last year). Latinas, however, remain dramatically underrepresented, accounting for a paltry five percent of speaking female characters. The stats are even more depressing when it comes to representation behind the camera. For example, some 97 percent of shows had no women directors of photography, while 85 percent had not a single female director. The study showed a clear “trickle-down” effect however: shows with women creators or producers, tend to feature more women on screen or in the director’s seat. Once again, the lesson for TV executives should be clear: Hire. More. Women!

Read the full story at Jezebel.


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