The number of women working as producers, writers and creators of primetime shows steadily increased last year, but women still hold a smaller fraction of the top television jobs than men, according to a new study from San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Overall, women like "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey and "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rimes held 26 percent of powerful behind-the-scenes positions during the 2011-12 prime-time season. That represents a modest one percentage point increase from last season.
The study, written by the center's head Dr. Martha Lauzen, tracks individuals working on prime-time dramas, sitcoms and reality shows on ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC. It compares those employment figures with figures from the 1997-98 season.
It found that dramas and sitcoms have more women in behind-the-scenes roles than reality shows. Reality shows employed 21 percent women, while sitcoms and dramas employed 28 percent women.
There are signs that the trend lines are moving in a more equitable direction, as women achieved historical highs as creators (26 percent) and executive producers (25 percent), an eight percent and three percent increase from the previous year, respectively.
However, the number of female editors dropped seven percentage points to 13 percent over the last year.
The number of female producers jumped one percentage point to 38 percent and the number of female writers rose 15 percentage points to 30 percent. The number of women working as directors in prime time stayed flat over the last year at 11 percent.
For the most part, the number of females working behind the camera remains clustered around a few select programs. For example, 90 percent of primetime programs employed no female directors, while the majority of writers rooms remain male-dominated, with 68 percent of shows employing not a single female scribe.