Men are seriously outnumbering women on TV, but it doesn’t have to be that way

Men are seriously outnumbering women on TV, but it doesn’t have to be that way
Jan 20, 2016

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  • TV gives people a glimpse into many different worlds.

  • But it seems TV itself may be a world run by men.

  • A new study from the United Kingdom found that men are twice as likely to appear on TV than women among all the major UK channels, The Guardian reported.

  • What's more, there are as many as five sexist incidents every night during primetime, and women suffered more sexist jokes on TV than men despite men outnumbering them 2-to-1, the study found.

  • These sexist jokes were most likely found during comedy programs. But the worst genres for gender balance were among guest hosts, commentators and presenters at award shows, the study found. Movies shown on TV were also void of women, with just 26 percent of on-screen roles going to women, The Guardian reported.

  • And although some efforts have been made to increase women's roles on TV, the issue is far from over, Adam Crozier, Diverse TV's chief executive, told The Guardian.

  • "If this was a five-day Test match, we would be half way through the first morning. It's far too early for anyone to be declaring victory," he said.

  • This isn't just an issue in the United Kingdom. Back in 2014, a report from the Women's Media Center found that women trail men in terms of onscreen roles for both film and TV.

  • In fact, 28 percent of female characters had a speaking role in 2012, and only 43 percent of women had speaking and major roles in primetime television during the 2012-13 TV season, Parade reported.

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  • And there's still a gap when it comes to pay. The Women's Media Center report found that the highest-earning paycheck for men in 2013 was Robert Downey Jr.'s $75 million check, whereas it was just $33 million for actress Angelina Jolie.

  • "The report found that while progress has been made in some areas, women are still struggling for a voice and a presence in the entertainment industry, both on screen and behind the scenes," Parade reported.

  • These numbers come as a bit of a surprise since women watch TV more than men, according to Tech Crunch's report on a Nielsen TV study. The study found that women will watch 40 more minutes of TV than men — about 4 hours and 11 minutes for women and 3 hours and 34 minutes for men.

  • Getting more women on TV won't be the easiest problem to fix. But some experts have at least one idea. As New York Magazine reported on its blog The Cut, a 2015 report from September found that one of the ways to get more women on TV was to get more women working in TV, specifically as industry executives and producers.

  • The report, done by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, found that female executive producers tend to hire more female directors, writers, actors and editors, increasing the amount of women in television as a whole.

  • "For example, on broadcast programs with at least one female creator, women comprised 50% of writers," the report explained. But "on programs with no female creators, women comprised 15% of writers."

  • And though many people talk about getting more women in TV, people in Hollywood need to start doing it for there to be real change, The Cut reported.

  • "When people are feeling that things are moving in the right direction, you get slapped in the face with reality," Melissa Silverstein, artistic director for the Athena Film Festival, told The Cut. "Hollywood actresses are talking about it, People magazine is covering it, Sandra Bullock is talking about the gender crisis."

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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