Lady Playwrights Shortchanged

by Team Intern


The optimistic side of me likes to hope that people are judged more for their merit than qualities out of their control, but a recent study has proven me sadly wrong, at least in the realm of theater.

According to Princeton economics student Emily Glassberg Sands and her new research studies , there is a major bias against female playwrights. Sands’study (which has been vouched for by a slew of smarty pants economists) discovered that female playwrights are responsible for only one out of eight shows on Broadway. To figure out why, Sands sent identical scripts to artistic directors and literary managers around the country, giving half of the scripts the name of a male playwright and the other half a female name.

The result? Scripts with male names attached got significantly better reviews than the ones supposedly written by a female. Most surprising of all, the bias was traced to female artistic directors. So, men reviewed men and women playwrights equally, while women judged scripts by males significantly more favorably. You have to wonder why the bias is against sisters in the same industry. Had they bought into the misogynistic belief system that the quality of males’ work is better? ‘Cause that’s simply not true.  Plays and musicals by women sell 16 percent more tickets a week and are 18 percent more profitable than plays by men. Until the day when equality is achieved, you can support the best plays on Broadway now written by ladies, like Mama Mia and In the Heights. I’m going this week! ~Hannah

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