The conversation about women behind the camera in film and TV has been going on for awhile now. Because women don’t direct or write nearly enough of our content, and we want to see that change. Luckily, many networks want that, too. Lifetime increased its female writers and directors a TON last year, and it makes us so happy! That’s right, the network that brought us UnREAL (and is bringing us the remake of Beaches!) is getting SO real about women behind the scenes, and we applaud them.
In 2015, Lifetime reported that 39% of those writing original movies were women, and 29% of the people who directed those movies were. And in their series, they had 33% female writers and 13% female directors. But, as a part of its Broad Focus initiative to achieve gender equality behind the scenes, Lifetime made some big steps.
In 2016, Lifetime made MAJOR increases in the numbers of female directors and writers, which makes us cheer.
For original movies, 52% of writers and 29% of directors were women. While the directing number stayed the same for 2016, it’s still a pretty solid number. But they had more than 50% female writers on their films last year, and that is definitely worth celebrating. More female writers increase the likelihood that we’ll see realistic, interesting women in our programming. And since Lifetime is a female-driven network, it’s only right that they have tons of women behind the scene.
For original series, their numbers are EVEN better. In 2016, 59% of writers and 55% of directors were women. That’s amazing. Not many networks can brag about getting more than 50% in both categories. And those director numbers made a huge and inspiring jump. From 13% to 55% in only one year shows that Lifetime takes their lady creatives seriously, and we love to see that.
In comparison, in the 2015-2016 TV season, overall only 17% of episodes were directed by women, and in Basic Cable television (which Lifetime falls under), only 14% of episodic directors were women. Also, women make up only 29% of the total writers in television. Basically, Lifetime is WAY above the curve in both of these key creative areas, and we hope other networks work harder to catch up.
We still have a long ways to go to make the numbers of women in film and TV equal, but we love to celebrate networks like Lifetime actively working to make it happen. We hope more networks take up this trend, because we all know ladies have some amazing stores to tell.