The WGA says that women and minorities showed slight gains in the 2019-20 TV series staffing season compared to a year ago, despite disruptions in the hiring process caused during the 105-day standoff between the guild and Hollywood’s talent agencies.
“Questions have been asked about the effect of the agency campaign on our most vulnerable members, including women and people of color,” the guild’s agency negotiating told WGA members tonight. “We now have data on TV series staffs for the 2019-2020 season that shows a slight increase in diversity over 2018-2019 levels. This season, writing staffs were 39% women, compared to 37% last season, and 30% people of color, compared to 29% last season.”
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In their campaign statements, opposition leaders Phyllis Nagy, running for WGA West5 president, and Craig Mazin, running for vice president, both said that the standoff is having a disproportionate impact on these “most vulnerable members.”
The WGA Inclusion Report Card says that “these gains are on track with the general trend of increasing inclusion in TV writer employment over the last 10 years.” Ten years ago, women got less than 30% of the TV staff jobs, and people of color got less than 20%. See the report here.
“WGA members concerned about the effect of the agency campaign on our most vulnerable members—including women and people of color—should be encouraged by these results,” the report states. “While these groups remain underrepresented relative to their percentages in the overall U.S. population and there is much more work to be done to stop systemic discrimination in the hiring of writers, employment data from 2019 shows that our progress has not been stalled. We urge all studios and showrunners to continue being part of the solution. With integrity, accountability, and continued effort, we can end discrimination against writers and increase inclusion and equity across our industry.”
The report notes that “the current 2019 season stats are preliminary and include about 60% of the anticipated hiring and so these results will likely change to some degree as the 2019-20 TV season unfolds.” It also notes that the 2017-18 data has been updated since the April 2019 Inclusion Report Card with additional data received in late reports.
The negotiating committee also noted that 5,682 WGA West members and 1,168 WGA East members have filled out the guilds’ Agency Campaign survey earlier this month, including 50% of West current-active members. “There is a lot of valuable information about writers’ experiences included in the survey responses. We are reading through tens of thousands of comments and will release some survey findings next week and at the upcoming membership meetings.”