WMC report: More Black women needed behind-the-scenes


Women in film and television entertainment are underrepresented and outnumbered by men, says the 2014 Women’s Media Center (WMC) U.S. media report.

Women made up 27 percent of the number of creators, writers, producers, executive producers, photography directors and editors in 2013-14, down one percent from 2012-13, according to the WMC report that used findings from the San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film.

Black women make up 14 percent of on-screen talent, women of color last year directed two percent of 3,500 television episodes produced during the 2013-14 network season, and more than 220 scripted cable television series in 2013. Furthermore, three percent of the 108 first-time directors were women of color, and seven percent of all 776 directors of 2013-14 episodes were Black.

Dr. Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, who owns and operates a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., told the MSR that the WMC report clearly points out that the television industry needs more people like Shonda Rhimes, who has created and produced several prime-time dramas for ABC.

“Even someone who has made history [such as Rhimes]…even when you get to that level of success, you’re still subject to very distasteful action,” said Jones-DeWeever. “Through my research and other research, we women of color are viewed on different standards when it comes to leadership.”

Jones-DeWeever said there’s an “unfortunate belief” about Black women or women of color in leadership roles: “Oftentimes it is more difficult to show our legitimacy,” she said. “I look forward to the day when” [Black women and other women of color] are judged fairly and not be held at varying, and sometimes unreasonable standards, just because of who they are.”

She continued, “There is an abundance of qualified women in this country, and to be more specific, an abundance of qualified Black women.”

The entire WMC report, “The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2015” can be read at www.womensmediacenter.com.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.