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23 August 2018

Directors UK Report Finds Decline in TV Episodes Directed By Women

Directors UK has launched its new report on gender inequality among directors working in UK television, which reveals that the gender gap has continued to widen.

The report comes four years after the organisation first looked into female directorial representation in TV production, which highlighted the chronic lack of women directing UK programming and the narrow range of sub-genres they were getting the opportunity to direct.

Four years on, their latest report reveals that the gender gap has actually increased across all four of the UK’s main broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5). This is despite the publication of goals, interventions, diversity and inclusion strategies, and the introduction of monitoring through Project Diamond (run by the Creative Diversity Network).

Channel 4 came out bottom with a 5.4 percentage point decline in the number of episodes directed by women, while Channel 5 saw a decrease of 2.9, and the BBC and ITV’s figures showed a drop of 1.8 and 1.5 respectively.

The report also found:

– There was an overall decline of 2.98 percentage points in the amount of television episodes directed by women from 2013 to 2016 (from 27.29% to 24.31%).

– Across the period as a whole, on average only 25% of episodes were directed by women.

– Factual programming showed the most significant decrease – a drop of 9.8 percentage points.

– Children’s programming also saw a 4.5 percentage point decline.

– However, some other genres saw a small improvement: multi-camera and entertainment increased by 2.8 percentage points, while drama and comedy rose by 4.3.

The full report can be read here.

Following the report’s publication, Directors UK has made a number of recommendations, including:

– A new Ofcom requirement that calls on broadcasters to collect characteristic data for senior production roles

– Recruit TV crews from a wider pool of talent using fairer practices and ensure employers have unconscious bias training

– Require broadcasters to commit 0.25% of their commissioning spend to fund career development

Commenting on the findings, WFTV CEO Kate Kinninmont MBE said: “The latest figures from Directors UK are another reminder that as an industry we must not assume because everyone is more aware about diversity and inclusion that progress is inevitable.

To find that, four years on from their first report, we have moved backwards is completely unacceptable and should be a wake up call. There are still too many talented women and people of colour who are not getting the opportunities they are ready for, and those with the power to drive meaningful change must act now.

We fully support the recommendations made by Directors UK and will be working with our industry partners to see them implemented.”


Read more about the report and its recommendations via Directors UK here.