Shows like “Girls” and “The Good Wife” are creating more opportunities for female talent on both sides of the camera
There are cracks in television’s glass ceiling, but it hasn’t shattered yet.
Female show runners like Lena Dunham of “Girls” and Jenji Kohan of “Orange is the New Black” and “Weeds” are increasing the presence of women in the writers room, the editing bay and behind the camera, according to a new survey by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.
The study looks at the representation of women both behind the scenes and in front of the camera on broadcast and cable channels and alternative platforms like Netflix, where Kohan’s “Orange is the New Black” can be found.
In a sign of the incremental growth, women made up 28 percent of creators, producers, directors, writers, editors, and directors of photography working on programs airing on the broadcast networks in 2012-13. That was an increase of two percentage points from the previous year and tied a historical high set in 2007-08.
“It’s positive that we’re seeing some growth,” Martha Lauzen, the center’s executive director, said. “It’s not great strides, but it would be unrealistic to expect a large industry like television to turn around overnight. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly.”
The representation of women on television was wider than on the big screen, where women find fewer opportunities. An earlier study by the center revealed that women represented just 18 percent of all directors, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
That number was essentially flat with the previous year and has increased a dismal percentage point since 1998. In contrast, the representation of women in the television business has increased by 7 percentage points in that time.