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The streaming services have made more room for women than the broadcast networks, according to the latest annual study from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Women comprised 52 percent of major characters on streaming programs but 45 percent on broadcast series, according to Boxed In: Women on Screen and Behind the Scenes on Broadcast and Streaming Television in 2020-21.
Analyzing 3,429 people onscreen and 4,434 behind the scenes across dramas, comedies and reality shows over the past TV season, the study also found more offscreen inclusion for women in streaming, where they accounted for 30 percent of creators, 31 percent of directors and 24 percent of editors, compared to 22 percent, 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively, at the networks.
In line with past study findings, programs with at least one woman creator employed onscreen and off than shows created solely by men did. “Increasing the numbers of women creators is important because they fulfill a gatekeeping role for female characters on screen and women working behind the scenes,” the Center’s executive director Martha Lauzen said in a statement, noting that women represented 53 percent of major characters and 52 percent of writers on series created by at least one woman, compared with 46 percent and 23 percent, respectively, on programs created only by men.
However, when broadcast network shows fared better when it came to inclusion of women from underrepresented races, with more Black women (23 percent) and Latina (8 percent) speaking characters than streaming programs had (20 percent and six percent, respectively). However, there were slightly more Asian women characters on streamers (11 percent) than on broadcast (nine percent).
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