Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film Report 2017

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This year’s Center for the Study of Women and Television in Film Report has a pointed title: Boxed In 2016-17: Women On Screen and Behind the Scenes in Television. Top findings:

•Overall, 68% of the programs
considered featured casts with more
male than female characters. 11% had
ensembles with equal numbers of female
and male characters. 21% of the
programs featured casts with more
female than male characters.

•Across platforms, females comprised
42% of all speaking characters. This
represents an increase of 3 percentage
points from 2015-16 when females
accounted for 39% of all speaking
characters, and an increase of 2
percentage points from 40% in 2014-15.

•Females accounted for 42% of major
characters on broadcast network, cable
and streaming programs. This
represents an increase of 4 percentage
points from 38% in 2015-16, and an
increase of 2 percentage points from
40% in 2014-15.

•The percentage of female characters
featured on broadcast network
programs was the same in 2016-17 as it
was nearly a decade earlier in 2007-08.
Last year, women comprised 43% of all
speaking characters on broadcast
network programs. While this figure
represents an increase of 2 percentage
points from 41% in 2015-16, it is the
same percentage achieved in 2007-08.

•Across platforms, programs are
becoming more racially and ethnically
diverse. Black characters in speaking
roles comprised 19% of all females in
2016-17, up from 16% in 2015-16.
Asian characters accounted for 6% of all
females in 2016-17, up from 4% in
2015-16. The percentage of Latinas
increased from 4% in 2015-16 to 5% in
2016-17.

•Broadcast network programs became
more racially and ethnically diverse in
2016-17, with Black and Asian female
characters achieving recent historical
highs. The percentage of Black females
increased from 17% in 2015-16 to 21%
in 2016-17. The percentage of Asian
females increased from 5% in 2015-16
to 7% in 2016-17.

•Latinas continue to be dramatically
underrepresented on broadcast network
programs. Latinas accounted for only
5% of all female characters with
speaking roles in 2016-17. This figure is
even with the number achieved in 2015-
16 and 2010-11.

•Regardless of platform, gender
stereotypes on television programs
abound. Female characters were
younger than their male counterparts,
more likely than men to be identified by
their marital status, and less likely than
men to be seen at work and actually
working.

•Across platforms, female characters
were more likely than males to play
personal life-oriented roles, such as
wife and mother. In contrast, male
characters were more likely than females
to play work-oriented roles, such as
business executive.

•In 2016-17, women comprised 28% of
all creators, directors, writers,
producers, executive producers, editors,
and directors of photography working
on broadcast network, cable, and
streaming programs. This represents an
increase of 2 percentage points from
26% in 2015-16.

•The employment of women working in
key behind-the-scenes positions on
broadcast network programs has
stalled, with no meaningful progress
over the last decade. Women comprised
27% of all creators, directors, writers,
producers, executive producers, editors,
and directors of photography working on
broadcast network programs. This
represents no change from 2015-16, and
an increase of only 1 percentage point
since 2006-07.

•Overall, programs employed behindthe-scenes
women in relatively small
numbers. 50% of programs employed 4
or fewer women in the behind-thescenes
roles considered. In contrast,
only 6% of programs employed 4 or
fewer men. 3% of programs employed
14 or more women in the behind-thescenes
roles considered. In contrast,
47% of programs employed 14 or more
men.

•Across platforms, women fared best as
producers (39%), followed by writers
(33%), executive producers (28%),
creators (23%), editors (22%), directors
(17%), and directors of photography
(3%).

•Across platforms, startlingly high
percentages of programs employed no
women in the behind-the-scenes roles
considered. 97% of the programs
considered had no women directors of
photography, 85% had no women
directors, 75% had no women editors,
74% had no women creators, 67% had
no women writers, 23% had no women
producers, and 20% had no women
executive producers.

•On programs with at least 1 woman
creator, females accounted for 51% of
major characters, achieving parity with
the percentage of girls and women in
the U.S. population. On programs with
exclusively male creators, females
accounted for 38% of major characters.

•Regardless of platform, programs with
at least 1 woman creator featured
substantially higher percentages
women in other key behind-the-scenes
roles. For example, on programs with at
least 1 woman creator, women
comprised 57% of writers. On programs
with exclusively male creators, women
accounted for 21% of writers.

•Across platforms, programs with at
least 1 woman executive producer
featured more female characters and
had higher percentages of women
directors and writers than programs
with exclusively male executive
producers. For example, on programs
with at least 1 woman executive
producer, women accounted for 18% of
directors. On programs with exclusively
male executive producers, women
comprised 8% of directors.

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Gender and Diversity

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