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New Study Shows Hollywood Writers Are Still Overwhelmingly White And Male

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Photo by Brian Bubonic via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Filed to the ranks of unsurprising news, it appears "the industry" is still an unwelcoming place for women and people of color. On Thursday, the Writer's Guild of America released its annual Hollywood writers diversity report showing that, in many respects, women and people of color are actually losing ground despite the recent attention to diversity in film and television.

The report, titled forebodingly "Renaissance in Reverse," was put together by the chair of UCLA's Sociology Department, Darnell M. Hunt. The results are not encouraging:

The current report reveals a mixture of slow, forward progress, stalls and reversals on the Hollywood diversity front. Women writers have made small advances in television employment and earnings since 2012. Though women writers also made small gains in film employment, the report reveals they lost ground in sector earnings by 2014. For minority television writers, however, any advances in employment share and relative earnings have stalled since the previous report. Only in the film sector have minority writers enjoyed any gains since 2012—a slight increase in their share of employment and a small closing of the earnings gap.

This year is supposed to be the year the film and television industry finally becomes self-aware about its own inclusion problem. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite drew attention to a colorblind Academy nominated only white actors and actresses for acting Oscars. A national conversation followed for a few weeks, before we were all distracted by the newest superhero flick.

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While, sure, the report reflects the industry's inclusion habits before 2016, it's important to remember that persistent attention to the industry's failure to include women and people of color is hardly a new topic of discussion for those of us who live and work in its shadow.

In terms of particulars, the report details that women writers managed to increase their share of television employment from 27 percent to 29 percent between 2012 and 2014. With regard to pay, women are paid 93 cents on the dollar when contrasted with white male television writers, up from 91 cents in 2012. The gap is widening in film, where women writers earned 68 cents on the dollar in 2014, contrasted to 78 cents in 2012.

People of color consist of just 13 percent of television writers, the same as 2012, and 7 percent of film writers.

Overall, male writers outnumber female writers in Hollywood almost 3-to-1.