Television has always been a place for creative women. This fall alone there is a slew of new female-centric shows from the adorkable comedy The New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel to the Maria Bello ass-kicking cop drama based on the original BBC series Prime Suspect to the controversial The Playboy Club, which isn’t making Gloria Steinem very happy. It seems that women are taking over, but you can’t always believe what you see. Behind the scenes women are losing ground.
According to a study done by the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film, only 25 percent of the creative people behind the scenes of primetime TV during the 2010-2011 season were women. The behind the scenes jobs include the creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography. Even worse, only 15 percent of the writers were female, down from 29 percent the year before.
Though the statistics were based on random episodes taken from last year’s television season and were based only on the big networks—CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and CW—the numbers are still really upsetting. Especially since the numbers seem to be dropping.
Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t anything positive about the upcoming TV season. There’s Up All Night, which was created by Emily Spivey and stars funny ladies Maya Rudolph and Christina Applegate. The New Girl boasts a head female writer in Liz Meriwether. And the new comedy 2 Broke Girls starring Kat Dennings was co-created by comedian Whitney Cummings, who also stars in her own show aptly titled Whitney.
But what needs to be done to make sure ladies aren’t only the pretty faces in front of the camera, but the real creative team behind it?