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Report: Despite increased awareness, men continue to dominate award nominations

Contributed by
Sep 14, 2018

Progress for representation in popular media continues to move at a glacial pace, and you really only need to look at the numbers to see it. While the representation of women, POC, and LGBTQ communities in front of the camera has been increasing more slowly than initially thought, especially in the current climate of diversity awareness, the numbers behind the scenes aren’t much better.

According to a new study of the 2018 Primetime Emmy nominations from the Women’s Media Center, 70% of the non-acting nominations at this year’s awards went to men. The non-acting awards are the only awards that do not nominate based on gender.

Despite the fact that issues facing women, especially women in the workplace and more specifically women in Hollywood, have been brought to the forefront in the past year of the #MeToo movement, the number of women nominated for non-acting awards only rose 2% from 28% in 2017. The number of women nominated in the most influential categories — those of director, writer, producer, and editor — sit this year at just 26% of the total nominees.

“The numbers over the past year show little change in the status of female creators in television,” said Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center. “Improvement has been slow — both in the employment numbers of women in key behind-the-scenes roles and in the number of women nominated for their achievements and impact as writers, directors, producers, or editors. We hope the #MeToo revelations of the past year will soon lead to sweeping transformations in Hollywood’s hiring and firing processes and that we will begin to see more equal and inclusive teams in front of and behind the camera.”

Of course, these numbers are an average across categories. When looking at individual awards, the disparity between men and women behind the camera becomes even more concerning. The report from the WMC showed that just 6% of all directors nominated in this year’s Primetime Emmys were women, down from 10% a year ago. Meanwhile, the percentage of women nominated in the editing and producing categories remained the same year-to-year at 20% and 31% respectively.

The only area in which women have seen gains since this time last year has been writing, where the number of women nominated was up from 21% to 23%. Those gains were largely made in the realm of TV comedy, the only category to see a larger number of female nominees than male.

What’s perhaps most interesting is the fact that female-driven stories saw a number of nominations across the board as shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, GLOW, Godless, and others received more than 10 nominations each. The disparity arises, of course, because the number of women working in decision-making positions on these lauded series is surprisingly low for their subject matter.