Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Women screenwriters still struggle for equality

A report has revealed the huge disparity in the number of female and male screenwriters. Gender Inequality and Screenwriters found that only 16% of working film writers in the UK are female, and only 14% of prime-time TV is female-written. Pretty jaw-dropping, particularly when you consider how many recent TV hits have been written by women, such as the multi-award winning Chewing Gum and the success of women at the last Baftas. But these are just two of the shocking findings in the new, independent report commissioned by WGGB.

Authored by Alexis Kreager with Stephen Follows the report spans a whole decade and reveals that TV shows and films written by women in the UK have flatlined during that period, with no consistent improvement in gender representation. You can read their summary here.

The report has prompted the Equality Writes campaign, calling on the industry to work with them to effect positive change using the #WorkWithUs hashtag and some other resources which you can find here.

With the support of writers including Sandi Toksvig, Kay Mellor, Gwyneth Hughes, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Lucy Kirkwood, April De Angelis, Jack Thorne, JoJo Moyes, Gaby Chiappe and Katherine Ryan the campaign is asking for:

• Programme-level TV equality monitoring data to be released.

• Public funders to pledge a 50/50 split between male and female-written films by 2020.

Sandi Toksvig said: “There is no shortage of talented women writers in the UK, and therefore no excuse that so few of them are getting commissions in film and TV. WGGB’s Equality Writes campaign is a vital one, and one that I – as a member – wholeheartedly support.”

Kate Mellor said: “No woman writer has got through without a struggle and it’s criminal that I can count on one hand how many women signature writers there are on TV right now. Sometimes it takes a collective to say ‘this is not fair’ and it’s not. It’s time things changed.”

Gwyneth Hughes said: “The results of the Writers’ Guild research make shocking reading. I hope we can move on to an honest and open debate about why this inequality still afflicts our industry.”

The Equality Rights Campaign wants equality of opportunity for all under-represented groups, for example BAME writers, LGBT+ writers, writers with disabilities and working-class writers. They believe the release of equality data is essential, in order to broaden out the campaign and ensure that writing is a profession which is fair, equal and free from discrimination.

Amen to that!

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