Streamers setting the standard for gender parity on screen

Posted Tuesday 13 Dec 2022

Streamers setting the standard for gender parity on screen

Streaming television seems to be offering the most hope for sustained gender parity on screen and for eventual parity behind the scenes, but film needs a giant push, says Dr Martha Lauzen, founder and executive director of San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film in a column for Variety.

Dr Lauzen says in 2021 women accounted for just 25% of individuals working in key behind-the-scenes roles on top grossing films. This is up just 8 percentage points from 17% in 1998. Last year, 92% of films had no women cinematographers, 92% had no women composers, and 82% had no women directors, according to the Center's latest Celluloid Ceiling study.

In television, women comprised 31% of those working behind the scenes on broadcast television programs and 37% on streaming programs. 92% of broadcast and streaming programs had no women directors of photography, and 79% had no women directors.

Meanwhile on screen, the latest research from the Center's Boxed In study shows the percentage of female characters on original streaming programs now approximates the proportion of girls and women in the US population.

Female characters comprised 50% of all major characters in the 2021-22 season, and 52% in 2020-21. Programs on broadcast networks have yet to reach gender parity but are close, with females accounting for 48% of major characters. Film remains more stubbornly male-centric, with females making up only 35% of major characters. This is up a scant 2 percentage points from 33% in 2011, more than a decade ago.

Click here to read the full column