2015: A Turning Point for Women in Entertainment

You don’t have to be male to be the lead on a top television show anymore. While many female-driven shows of the past – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “ALIAS”, “Nikita” – were loved by the critics, they failed to gain widespread appeal and audiences. They couldn’t escape the category “shows for women” even though many revolved around genres, such as action or sci-fi, that men tend to flock to.

2015, however, bucked that trend and helped end the dry spell of female entertainment jobs. “Supergirl” currently leads as the highest rated new show followed by “Blindspot” – a thriller with an amnesiac woman acting as the lead player. Other new shows this year – “UnREAL”, “Agent Carter” and “Flesh & Bone” – have put women front and center to find both critical and financial success.

That’s not to say that these new shows are the only ones leading the charge. More likely, they are the result of the past decade and its flux of strong women leads. “How to Get Away With Murder”, “Orange Is the New Black” and “Inside Amy Schumer” have all gained critical recognition and earned awards for their efforts. These shows have gained the moniker of “great television” first and “shows for women” second. The story has beaten out the importance of the gender.

Despite 2015’s progress, major female entertainment jobs in both film and television – writers, directors and producers – are still harder to come by. According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, women fill only 20 percent of film jobs. By surveying close to 6,000 positions, the study found the most likely entertainment careers for women to be producers, followed by executive producers, editors, writers, directors and cinematographers. In the last group, cinematographers, women filled only five percent of total positions for the Top 250 films produced in 2014.

The lack of entertainment careers for women, especially behind-the-scenes, isn’t new. There’s a dearth of female video game creators. In literary circles, men continue to get more books reviewed. In the music industry, female music producers are a rarity.

There may be a lot of room to make some real progress for women in entertainment, but 2015’s television lineup is definitely proof that trends are moving in the right direction. “Strong female leads” shouldn’t be a genre apart from mainstream viewing. And as women look get an equal share of screen time and respect as major players in the entertainment industry, having women as the leads, producers and directors should become much more common.

Entertainment careers for women have come a long way since the roles of the early 20th century – where the only women in movies and television were scantily-clad or waiting to be rescued. There’s plenty more work to do, but 2015 was a good showing for the progress already made.

Looking for female entertainment jobs onstage or offstage? Check out 4entertainmentjobs.com for a host of entertainment careers for women (and men). 

Keywords: Women in entertainment, female entertainment jobs, entertainment careers for women

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