The Writers Guild of America (WGA) recently released it’s annual Hollywood writers diversity report titled Renaissance in Reverse where they collected data from 2009-2014. This study sheds a light on how deep the “epidemic of invisibility” runs within the Hollywood landscape for women, minority writers. If you have been following any form of news over the past few months, I am certain that you are well aware of the ongoing discussion surrounding the lack of inclusion within the walls of Hollywood; however, this new study data proves that the situation pertaining to female writers and writers of color has gotten worse over time.
“The Guild has watched for years as the progress made by our industry has, in essence, flatlined. This report makes it emphatically clear that our Guild needs not just to mirror a broken system, but to work to change it.” – Howard A. Rodman, WGAW President
According to the report female writers only account for 26% of all writers employed in 2014, African-Americans 4%, Latinos 3%, Asian-Americans 2.6% and Native Americans 0.2%. Compared with the U.S. population, female writers are underrepresented by a factor of 2-to-1, African-Americans by 6-1, Latinos by 9-1, Asian-Americans by 4-1 and Native Americans by 12-1.
The WGA’s report found that women and minority writers continue to be paid less than their white male counterparts. Citing 2014 data, the median salary for a minority TV writer was $102,492 which is $25,276 less than their white male counterpart, or about 80 cents on the dollar.
The report also shows that in television, women writers increased their share of the writing jobs from 27.5% in 2008 to 28% of the jobs in 2014. Employment opportunities for minority writers in film actually went up a percentage point 16.1% in 2008 to 16.9% in 2014.
These studies are important as it gives Hollywood a clear picture of where they are lacking. As long as behind the screen representation remains homogeneous, these unfortunate statistical stories will continue to repeat themselves year after year.
“Progress has been slow at best for women and minority writers in an era of television renaissance, while film sector stagnation has witnessed either anemic advances or actual reversals of fortune for groups of writers that remain woefully underrepresented in both sectors” – Dr. Darnell Hunt, Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA