Women of Color Are the Most Underrepresented Group on TV, Nielsen Report Finds

Latinx women are consistently underrepresented across all platforms

A new report from Nielsen looking at diversity and inclusion on television found that women of color tend to be the most underrepresented groups across all platforms, with cable coming up particularly short.

The study, which looked at the 300 most popular shows of 2019, found that 92% of programs had “some level of diversity” in their casts. But when compared to population estimates, the study found that TV programming consistently fails to represent certain groups, particularly Native Americans and Hispanic or Latinx women.

Broken down by platform, cable significantly lags behind streaming and broadcast in terms of on-screen representation, according to the study. Nearly a third of the content on cable fails to reach parity representation for women, people of color, indigenous populations and LGBTQ talent.

Asian American and Black populations were found to be represented “well” on streaming platforms, but when looking at intersectional representation, the study also found that LGBTQ men or men of color were much more likely to be represented at parity or above than women from the same groups.

“At Nielsen, we believe that the audience is everything and that inclusion is a prerequisite of a healthy media ecosystem, ensuring all communities and individuals are heard and seen,” stated Tina Wilson, Nielsen EVP, Media Analytics and Marketing Outcomes. “The call for inclusive programming that breaks traditional stereotypes and gives a voice to underrepresented groups has never been louder.”

“This work underscores the essential importance of on-screen representation in an increasingly diverse audience landscape,” said Sandra Sims-Williams, Nielsen SVP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Not only is the business case for inclusion made but it also provides practical recommendations on how media companies can address inclusion gaps. This is a must-read for any media professional who wants to be part of the change that today’s television viewers demand.”

Read the full report here.