WGA: Modest Gains for Female, Minority Writers

Female television writers have made strides in closing the earnings gap, but make up a smaller percentage of employed writers than they did just a few years ago, according to a study released Monday by the Writers Guild of America.

In its 2014 Hollywood Writers Report, released Monday, the WGA also noted that the percentage of employed writers who come from minority backgrounds posted a modest increase to its highest level yet. The study covers employment data for writers working on WGA contracts through 2012.

It is one of several recent studies that illustrate the struggle to diversify TV writers’ rooms.

Among the findings:

•  The percentage of employed writers who are women declined from 28% in 2009 to 27% in 2012.

•  Female writers earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by male writers in 2012 — up from 77 cents in 2009.

•  The percentage of employed writers who are minorities grew from 10% in 2009 to 11% in 2012.

•  Minority writers earned 83 cents for every dollar earned by white writers in 2012 — up from 78 cents in 2009, but down from 92 cents in 2011.

• Writers ages 41-50 made up 37% of all employed TV writers in 2012 — a number that was unchanged from 2009. Writers ages 31-40 made up 33% of the workforce. Writers under 31 were at 7%. Writers 51-60 were at 18%.

• Television writers ages 41-50 posted median earnings of $141,698 in 2012, higher than any other age group.

The WGA’s study was authored by UCLA sociology professor Darnell Hunt.

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is an analyst for TVREV and Fabric Media. She previously served in various roles at Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV, working with the brands since 2013. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects in the media and entertainment space, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.