Just 16% of screenwriters in UK film are women, new study finds

Quite tired of this BS

screenwriters UK women in film
(Image credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

Quite tired of this BS

Words by Anna Clarke

A shocking new report finds that only 16% of screenwriters in the UK film industry are women. The recently released figures, commissioned by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, shines a light on the drastic gender imbalance that is still such a blight on the movie world today.

The publication, Gender Inequality and Screenwriters, indicates that women continue to be blocked from getting the top jobs in the British film and TV industries and gender representation ‘flatlined during that period.’

Written by Alexis Kreager and Stephen Follows, the report—extracted from 10 years worth of data—also showed that even though women-penned movies ended up generating large gross revenues (well, duh), we’re still lagging behind. Another BS stat was that on average the budgets for male-led films tend to be higher than those of women. Urgh.

Olivia Hetreed, WGGB president and responsible for the screenplay adaptation of the Girl with a Pearl Earring, said: ‘I have been asked about the dearth of female screenwriters in this country ever since my first feature film put me into that endangered species bracket.

‘I and others were reassuring: ‘It’s just a matter of time. It’s getting better. It will work itself out.’ But more than a decade later this new research shows that the number of women writing films has flatlined at abjectly low levels,’ she added.

And it turns out, gender inequality is not just an issue restricted to the film industry. Suprise, surprise. The UK TV industry is just as bad with only 28% of British TV drama being female-written. And this drops drastically to a teensy 14% when you hit primetime. What’s even more infuriating is that the report suggests films and TV shows that are written by woman, get a better audience reception. Just consider Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of hit comedy show Fleabag, if you want the receipts.

In order to tackle the issue, the Writers’ Guild have launched the Equality Writes campaign, along with high-profile celebs like comedian Katherine Ryan and author JoJo Moyes all pledging their support. They’re fighting for public funders to commit to a 50/50 split before 2020.

WGGB Chair Gail Renard added spiritedly: ‘Let us into the meetings. Read our pitches. Work with us. We all have glorious stories to tell. Let us tell them.’

Amen to that!

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