Nikita Richardson
August 27, 2015 10:26 am

Every January, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar nominations, without fail there is outcry over the lack of women and minorities up for top awards like Best Director and Best Picture. But what those arguments fail to touch upon is the fact that the lack of diversity really starts at the broadest, and most accessible, level of entertainment: Television.

This week, the Director’s Guild of America said as much, releasing its diversity report and showing that women and minorities continue to be underrepresented not just on screen, but behind the camera, too. Of the 3910 episodes that aired during the 2014-2015 TV season, women made up just 16% of directors while minorities (both men and women) comprised a mere 18% of episodic directors. What’s more, at the hiring level, women only made up 16% of first-time directors (a 4% drop from the 2013-2014 season) while a dismal 16% of first-time directors were minorities.

Meanwhile, a number of shows with strong female leads, including Mom, Marvel’s Agent Carter, Bones, and Nurse Jackie, had most, if not all, of their episodes directed by white men, landing all of them on the DGA’s “Worst Of” list of “shows that hired women or minority directors for fewer than 15% of episodes.” They join programs like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (0%), Boardwalk Empire (0%), and Ray Donovan (0%).

Ouch.

But we’re going to end this on a positive note and look to the future because there is some hope. As the report points out, with 10% more episodes, the 2014-2015 season offered even more job opportunities and women were there to take them, directing 620 of last year’s 3,910 episodes (compared to 509/3562 in 2013-2014) for a 22%  year-over-year growth rate. Meanwhile, minorities directed 5% more episodes of television this year than in the previous season with BET leading the pack with three shows (Single Ladies, The Game, and Being Mary Jane) that had every single episode directed by a minority or a woman.

Here’s hoping that this trend eventually reaches far beyond channels designed for minorities and women and makes its way to all the networks, big and small. 

Let’s give female directors a standing ovation (because they seriously deserve it)

What do women think when they look at other women on the street?

[Image via CBS]

Advertisement