Women directors: Who’s calling the shots?

The following study examined a range of TV programmes and provided a snapshot of employment patterns and practices on programmes transmitted up to December 2012.

Key findings:

  • 0% women directors have ever worked on many popular dramas and entertainment shows.
  • Gender stereotyping of the programmes directed by women is particularly visible in factual TV.
  • Women are more likely to direct programmes concerned with body isues, food or homes.
  • “Fast track” credits which allow progression to high end productions are largely only available for male directors.

Key reasons:

  • Decisions on hiring are influenced by the opinion (or perceived opinion) of commisioners, in a risk-averse culture that keeps hiring the same directors.
  • Production executives responsible for hiring are unaware of low figures for women directors.
  • There is no uniform or consistent monitoring of the freelance workforce throughout the industry.
  • Beyond a trusted few, there is a lack of awareness of the large number of highly qualified and experienced women drama directors.
  • Gender stereotyping is prevalent when hiring in specific genres in drama, factual and comedy.

Key actions:

  • Setting a minimum 30% target for women directors across all broadcasters’ programming output, to be achieved in 2017.
  • All production companies to monitor levels of freelance directors.
  • Broadcasters and production companies to work with Directors UK to provide regular networking events for directors and executives.

The report was released in May 2014 and can be downloaded here

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