When I last wrote about women in Hollywood most of the data was compiled from reports dating back to 2012 and 2013. With Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan in the mix I thought things would have improved greatly last year, but according to Deadline and a new study by the Writers Guild of America West jobs for women and minorities are steadily declining as middle-aged white guys swoop in and snatch them all.
Minority writers saw a nearly 7% decline in employment last season, falling from 15.6% of the workforce in 2011-12 to 13.7% in 2013-14, while employment of female writers fell 5%, from 30.5% to 29%.
Are you kidding me? Oh, it gets worse:
"..minorities were underrepresented by a factor of nearly 7-to-1 among executive producers.” Women, meanwhile, accounted for only 15.1% of the executive producer positions last season, a decline from 18.6% during the previous season.
Great — so we can't even count on television to pull us out of this abysmal display of racism and sexism. Even talk show host Steven I. Weiss recently wrote about the difficulties he faced trying to achieve gender parity with the guests he interviewed on his show, and it's not for lack of trying:
I had thought that closing the interview gender gap would be a simple combination of awareness and effort, but I quickly learned that there were complicating factors. Publishers tend to do a better job of promoting male authors, and it was much harder to secure interviews with household-name female thinkers. Women already face disadvantages in academia and journalism, so there were murkier issues of self-selection involved as well.
Help me understand why there isn't a committee or tribunal set up to investigate literally all of Hollywood right now for blatant gender and racial bias.
Danielle Henderson is a lapsed academic, heavy metal karaoke machine, and culture editor at Fusion. She enjoys thinking about how race, gender, and sexuality shape our cultural narratives, but not in a boring way.