WGA Diversity Reports Fewer Women Film Writers, Minorities Paid Less

April 17, 2014  |  

Despite the increasing presence of women and minorities in the entertainment industry, the Writer’s Guild of America reports the picture isn’t quite so rosy when you look at the number of writers working behind the scenes. Even when there have been gains, they’re small. And where money is concerned, the wage gap is real.

“Female writers accounted for 15% of feature film work in 2012, the latest year tracked in the survey, down from 17% in 2009. Minority writers remained stuck at 5% of film jobs, unchanged from 2009, but the survey shows minority writer earnings declined over the same period even as paydays for white male writers increased. In TV, minority employment reached 11% in 2012, the highest level in a decade. Female employment dipped to 27%, down 1% from 2009, while the earnings gap between male and female writers closed ever so slightly (by 1 cent in 2012 compared to 2009) to 92 cents for every dollar earned by males.”

Deadline Hollywood notes that minorities watch disproportionate amounts of television and film despite their smaller presence in the industry. The median age of an industry writer is 41 to 50 years old.

The Writer’s Guild of America, West is a labor union that represents writers in film, television, radio and in internet programming.

“Before we are likely to realize meaningful, sustained change…other industry players – the networks, studios, and agents – will have to go well beyond what they have routinely done in the past to address the troubling shortfalls evident on the diversity front among writers,” said Darnell M. Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, the author of the study.

The WGA full study, “Turning Missed Opportunities Into Realized Ones: The 2014 Hollywood Writers Report,” will be made available in June.

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