A new report out of the Writers Guild of America shows that the number of female screenwriters is dwindling, and they are making 77 cents on the dollar compared to male writers.
Now, I don’t know the breakdown of men versus women who are trying to become screenwriters, but based on what I’ve seen at writing conferences, classes, writers groups, and among the followers of this very site, it seems that women make up at least a third and perhaps even half of all the people trying to become professional screenwriters.
But women aren’t getting as far as men in this field, and it’s worth asking why.
Todd Cunningham of The Wrap reports:
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.
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.
And things aren’t any better in the independent film world. Jordan Zakarin of The Wrap recently wrote:
Women filmmakers have largely been frozen out of the studio world, and their numbers are now falling in the independent film realm as well.
The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State U. analyzed the lineups of 23 different prestigious film festivals that took place between May 2013 and 2014, with alarming findings.
Overall, the percentage of women working in key positions (i.e., producers, executive producers, cinematographers and editors) on movies held at 26 percent, the same as 2011-2012. However, women comprised just 23 percent of directors, down from 29 percent in 2011-12, and 22 percent of writers, down from 24 percent in 11-12.
What do you think? Are women simply less interested in writing than men? Are they less aggressive about pursuing their careers? Or are women writers being treated differently than their male counterparts? Leave your thoughts below.