WGA: Women Screenwriters Losing Ground, Money to Male Counterparts

The number of women employed has fallen since 2009 and they make 77 cents for every dollar a man does, guild survey says

There are fewer women writing for feature films and they make less than their male counterparts, according to new figures released Monday by the Writers Guild of America West. Women accounted for just 15 percent of sector employment — down from 17 percent in 2009 — and are outnumbered by more than three-to-one among screenwriters, according to an early summary of the 2014 Hollywood Writers Report, the WGAW’s analysis of the state of diversity in writing for television and film. Women film writers earned just 77 cents for every dollar earned by white male film writers in 2012, down from 82 cents in 2009, the survey said. Also read: SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood Producers To Start Contract Talks on May 5 While the report findings show modest gains for minority and women television writers, such increases are offset by a continuing decline in employment for women and minority screenwriters, illustrating the stark reality that the entertainment industry remains an inequitable landscape. The full report will be published in June. Key findings in the 2014 Hollywood Writers Report executive summary include: Women Writers’ TV Employment Remains Static: Women remained underrepresented by a factor of nearly 2 to 1 among television writers in 2012, claiming just 27 percent of sector employment. Women TV Writers Close Income Gap: Women television writers earned about 92 cents for every dollar earned by white males in 2012, up slightly from 91 cents in 2009. Women Screenwriters Lose Ground in Film: In the film sector, women writers fell further behind their white male counterparts in 2012, accounting for just 15 percent of sector employment (down from 17 percent in 2009). Women remained underrepresented by a factor of more than 3 to 1 among screenwriters. Gender Earnings Gap in Film Widens Again: The gender earnings gap in film has traditionally been greater than the gap in television. Women film writers earned just 77 cents for every dollar earned by white male film writers in 2012, down from 82 cents in 2009. Minority TV Writers Increase Numbers and Close Earnings Gap: Minority television writers posted an increase in employment share (from 10 percent in 2009 to 11 percent in 2012), while also closing the earnings gap a bit with white male television writers. Nonetheless, minority writers remain underrepresented by a factor of about 3 to 1 among television writers. Minority Screenwriters’ Share of Film Employment Remains Low & Earnings Gap Widens: There is still a major disconnect between the percentage of minority writers employed in television and film and the U.S. population, as minorities accounted for nearly 37 percent of the U.S. population in 2010, and by 2012 the majority of babies born in the United States were non-white. Data also show that minorities watch a disproportionate share of television and theatrical films, while increases in their consumer spending outpace the rest of the nation. The previous report revealed that — after a decade of being stuck at 6 percent — the minority share of film employment dropped a percentage point to 5 percent in 2009. This figure remained at 5 percent in 2012, highlighting the fact that minorities continued to be underrepresented by a factor of about 7 to 1 among employed film writers. Older Writers’ Share of TV & Film Employment Remains Strong, Drops After 60: Older writers — particularly those aged 41 to 50 — claimed the largest share of employment in television and film, as well as the highest earnings in each sector. As previous reports have shown, however, the relative status of older writers tends to decline rather rapidly beyond the age of 60.