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The share of women professionals in the production of TV and SVoD fiction stood at 28% in 2022

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A European Audiovisual Observatory report shows that since 2015, the presence of women professionals has increased by 8%, but the growth rate is still too low to reach parity in the near future

The share of women professionals in the production of TV and SVoD fiction stood at 28% in 2022
Prominent Danish producer Louise Vesth

This week, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) published a new report titled “Female Professionals in European TV/SVoD Fiction Production, 2015-2022 Figures,” authored by Gilles Fontaine. In detail, the study examines gender inequality across six categories of off-screen roles – directors, writers, producers, DoPs, composers and editors.

The first key finding is that the share of women professionals involved in the making of TV and SVoD fiction productions was 28% in 2022. The report argues that this low percentage is linked to three main factors: a low share among the active population of professionals, fewer assignments received by women professionals and work being shared more often with other professionals (for example, women writers co-writing more often than men writers).

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However, gender inequality levels differ across the different departments. The share of women professionals is higher among producers (48%) and writers (37%), and lower among editors (26%), directors (25%), composers (11%) and DoPs (8%).

On the whole, women professionals seem to be more strongly represented in categories where several professionals work together, as is the case for producers and writers, whilst for positions usually held by a single professional, such as directors or DoPs, women tend to be under-represented.

Nevertheless, producing and writing teams are still mostly led by men. For example, in 2022, women writers accounted for 37% of the writing of fiction, and female-driven teams accounted for only 28% of all writing teams – a figure that should be compared with the 56% of male-led teams and 16% of gender-balanced teams.

On a more positive note, the overall share of women professionals has increased by 8% since 2015. Although the most significant progress has been made for positions with a low or very low share of women, the growth rate is still too low to be satisfying. The study estimates that if this doesn’t increase, gender equality among writers will be reached in 2029, among directors in 2032 and among composers in 2045.

That being said, the research indicates that a more encouraging aspect could help reach gender parity sooner: “Women in one category of staff are more likely to work with other women; for example, the share of women writers or producers is significantly higher when the director is a woman, and the same goes for works mainly written or produced by women. Progress in each position is therefore likely to positively impact the others.”

Finally, a small section of the report (pages 34-40) focuses on lead actresses, based on data provided by IMDb. In 2022, women accounted for 44% of active actors in a lead role in audiovisual fiction titles, a figure that has remained rather stable since 2015. “There was at least one woman among the lead roles of 94% of audiovisual fiction episodes and TV films,” and “actresses’ weighted share of lead role assignments was 46%, quite stable since 2015”, the report highlights.

You can access the full document here.

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