Women Just 17% European TV Directors, Report Finds – The Hollywood Reporter

Female professionals account for just 17 percent of working directors in the European television industry. That shockingly-low statistic is the headline finding of a new report by EU media think tank European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO), unveiled on Thursday.

The EAO combed the data for 37,000 TV movies and series episodes produced across some 130 TV channels and streaming services in Europe between 2015 and 2020 to tease out the gender gap in different professions. The findings show that while women are approaching parity with their male colleagues in certain fields – female producers accounted for some 44 percent of TV fiction made during the five-year-period, for example – many professions remain strongly male-dominated.

Despite recent media focus on the need for greater gender parity, female directors worked on just 17 percent of TV films and series episodes made between 2015 and 2020, the report found. Female directors also helm fewer episodes – 10 episodes on average for working directors in the period studied – than their male colleges (13.4 episodes).

The EAO found major national differences in the gender gap, with female accounting professionals for around 30 percent of working TV directors in Norway, but making up closer to 10 percent in the UK, France and Italy.

The gender gap for TV producers is significantly smaller. The EAO found that female producers were behind 44 percent of all fiction programming made for European TV between 2015 and 2020 and that female producers, on average, delivered a similar number of episodes (10.1) to their male counterparts (9.9) over the period. Female producers are most dominant in the Finnish TV industry, where they accounted for close to 80 percent of productions, according to the EAO, and weakest in Hungary (around 5 percent).

On screen, European TV has also made progress, with 43 percent of TV leads played by women, the study found, and at least one female lead in 90 percent of series episodes made over the five-year period. When it comes to scripts, female writers accounted for 36 percent of all TV fiction production during the period studied. But, because female writers turn out more scripts on average (14.3) than men (12) and because they are more likely to collaborate with one or more writers, female screenwriters contributed to 58 percent of all TV fiction made in Europe during the time under review.

Two areas where much more work needs to be done are the fields of cinematography – just 7 percent of European TV cinematographers between 2015 and 2020 were women – and music composition, where only 5 percent of working professionals are female.

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