This study just confirmed our worst fears about women writers for late-night TV
Sigh. Hopefully some day in the future, we won’t be bearing any more bad news about women on T.V. Today is not that day. Mother Jones took a cold, hard look at the writing credits for some our favorite late night shows and found that women are overwhelmingly absent from the writers’ room.
Mother Jones was inspired to take this deep-dive after a study by the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism published some interesting statistics. They found that 31. 6% of writers for broadcast TV were women, 28.5 percent for cable, and 25.2 percent for internet-based shows. While these numbers are low, they’re still higher than the same statistic for late night television, which, Mother Jones found, sits just below 18%. Yikes.
By looking at the names during the shows’ closing credits, and fact-checking them against the Writers Guild of America, IMDB, and Twitter, they were able to see 1) how many writers each show had and 2) how many women were among them. It’s not pretty.
Shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (18 men versus three women), Saturday Night Live (20 men versus four women), and Real Time with Bill Maher (10 men versus zero women) were some of the worst offenders in terms of their overwhelming disparity, but the rest of the shows weren’t much better. In fact, the only show that came close to equal was (unsurprisingly) Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, which boasts five male writers and four female writers.
Not only is there not a single show where female writers are the majority, for the most part, they barely make a dent! The only way to fix this issue is to first call attention to it, laying it out on the table so it no longer because a subjective issue, but black-and-white facts. It’s undeniable, so what’s next? Your move, Hollywood.
Check out the full list here.