Only 14% of prime-time TV written by women, study finds

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by Simon Austin

A new study has discovered that only 16% of working film writers in the UK are female and that just 14% of prime-time TV is written by women.

The independent report, Gender Inequality and Screenwriters, was commissioned by the  Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), funded by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and authored by Alexis Kreager with Stephen Follows.

Data was gathered for more than 10 years and revealed that TV shows and films written by women in the UK flatlined during that period.

Women were found to write just 28% of total TV episodes.

The Guild, which represents professional writers across all genres, hopes the figures will prompt TV and film commissioners to push harder for equality.

Olivia Hetreed, the WGGB president who adapted the screenplay for the 2003 film Girl with a Pearl Earring, said: “I have been asked about the dearth of female screenwriters in this country ever since my first feature film put me into that endangered species bracket.

“I and others were reassuring: ‘It’s just a matter of time. It’s getting better. It will work itself out.’ But more than a decade later this new research shows that the number of women writing films has flatlined at abjectly low levels.”

Band of Gold screenwriter Kay Mellor said: “Sometimes it takes a collective to say ‘this is not fair’ and it’s not. It’s time things changed.”