Emmy Nominations Expose Bleak Reality for TV’s Women Behind the Scenes

They make up only 25 percent of this year’s writers, directors, editors and producers, a new 10-year survey finds

Last Updated: September 20, 2015 @ 3:47 PM

The bleak picture for women behind the camera in primetime television isn’t getting any better — and hasn’t for more than a decade — according to a survey released ahead of Sunday’s 67th Emmy Awards.

This year’s Emmy nominations reflect a large gender disparity, with women making up only 25 percent of this year’s nominated writers, directors, editors and producers, despite comprising just over half of America’s population.

That percentage has shown little improvement over 10 years, according to a report issued this week by the Women’s Media Center, which examined Emmy nominations in the aforementioned categories from 2006 through 2015.

Women accounted for 28 percent of nominees in producing categories, 18 percent in editing, 13 percent in writing and just 8 percent in directing categories.

survey chart“The men and women in these roles have the power to decide and mold what the story is, who is in the story, and how the story is told,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center in a statement.

Having women behind the scenes “is crucial to making sure women’s experiences, perspectives, voices, and images are part of any story,” Burton added.

Optimists may see signs that change is on the horizon, while cynics might suggest the gains are limited.

Comedian Amy Schumer this year landed four Emmy nods including best directing in a variety series for “Inside Amy Schumer” (photo top), only the second time in 10 years that a woman has been nominated in that race. And female writers of AMC’s period drama “Mad Men” accounted for 10 out 15 nominations for the show in best drama series writing since 2006.

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” a frequent nominee in the outstanding writing for a variety series category, has four women on its writing staff this year, up from just one in 2006. The female nominees in that category have thus increased from 6 percent in 2006 to 23 percent in 2015.

“If more women were hired as writers, directors, editors, producers, and especially as creators and executive producers, the talent pool for nominations would be more reflective of the overall population and audience,” Burton said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Women’s Media Center was founded by actress Jane Fonda, poet Robin Morgan and journalist Gloria Steinem in 2005, aiming to promote women in media.