The dominance of men means a lack of opportunities for all writers. That’s why 70 of us are taking action
The landscape of television is changing rapidly – and so are the faces in front of the camera. We have a female Doctor Who. Undercover and Guerrilla placed black protagonists front and centre in prime-time drama, while Chinese Burn explores the lives of young East Asians in London. Streaming services bring us subtitled drama not only from Europe, but from Asia and South America. And yet, check the writers who are considered important and reliable enough for a 9pm prime-time slot “from the writer of …”, and you’ll find the vast majority are men.
Female screenwriters have been aware of this for a long time. We all have our war stories. The exec who said “We already have a show written by a woman”, or the commissioner who felt that a female lead wouldn’t appeal to a wide audience. The times we’ve been the only woman in the writing team, routinely talked over and ignored.