Emmy Nominees Still ‘Nowhere Near Parity,’ Study Finds

Oprah Winfrey Ava DuVernay
Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

Despite on-screen roles for women beefing up this year — and despite public pushes for pay equality seeing positive results — women are still “nowhere near parity” when it comes to behind-the-scenes and below-the-line Emmy nominations, reports the Women’s Media Center.

According to the WMC’s annual analysis of the Emmy nominations, there was no overall change in the percentage of women nominated in the 89 non-acting categories this year. However, the combined key categories of writing, directing, editing, and producing see women only gaining one percentage point in representation (up from 25 last year to 26 this year).

“Women still lag behind their male counterparts in these influential behind-the-scenes roles,” WMC president Julie Burton said in a statement, noting there are 18 non-acting categories that don’t have any female nominees at all. “While the slight uptick in some categories is encouraging, women still are nowhere near parity and men continue their dominance. Executives must do better in addressing the disparity of women behind the camera.”


Lesli Linka Glatter Ava DuVernay Tina Fey Emmys Gender Gap

What Will It Take for Emmys to Close the Gender Gap?

There are 43 writing, editing, directing, and producing categories in the Emmys (six writing, eight editing, eight directing, and 21 producing). The WMC’s research found that there were fewer women represented in the writing and editing categories this year but more in directing and producing. Producing, specifically, saw a 2% increase (up to 31% from 29% last year). This bump could be due to the number of women producers who are nominated for projects they also starred in — such as Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman for “Big Little Lies,” Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon for “Feud,” Oprah Winfrey and her Harpo Films for “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and Ava DuVernay, who was also nominated for writing and directing for her Netflix documentary “13th.” (It is worth noting that an individual was only counted once per category, even if she was nominated multiple times in the same year for the same award.)

The new category of music supervision added a few women to the mix, and Samantha Bee finally broke the glass ceiling for female comedians in late-night comedy with nominations for “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.”

Burton calls these ongoing low numbers “unacceptable” because, she says, they “do not reflect the tremendous talent, experience, and impact of female writers, producers, editors, and directors.”

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  1. TawdryBeast says:

    Hollywood is hard for all minorities and even non minorities. ESPECIALLY for people of color, from the set, to the production office, to the boardroom. Why is it that all the media seems to focus on these days is the struggle of women in Hollywood. Even the whitest of white men struggle to be successful in this arena. You have to have good ideas. You have the skill sets needed to execute those ideas. The idea has to work for large enough audience so it financially makes sense. You have to work extremely hard to get positioning and hold it. And yes, there is a gauntlet of politics, nepotism and isms to traverse like the journey to any valued position in any walk of life. Yes, Hollywood is a difficult climb for most that attempt to scale that mountain. Yes, Hollywood is hard. For EVERYONE.

    • Rena Moretti says:

      Not for “everyone”. For the sons and daughters of the industry, it’s an easy way to make money.

      The idea that you need talent and know-how any longer is shown to be false every day by every new movie and TV show that comes out.

      The know-how today is barely 10% of what it was 30 years ago.

    • Nikki says:

      Hollywood is hard for EVERYONE who works there. Just ask all the women executives that seem to populate the industry. It doesn’t get any easier just because you’re a woman or a man. Or if you’re any particular race.

      • Rena Moretti says:

        It’s a lot easier if you’re someone’s daughter/son/wife/husband/BFF/nephew/niece…

        That’s the reality all the virtue signalling avoids like the plague.

  2. Rena Moretti says:

    Always that same nonsense that you need equality of result to demonstrate equality of opportunity…

    The truth, but nobody in Hollywood wants to talk about it is that you have to be born (or adopted into) the Hollywood establishment to have a career anymore…

    Know-how counts for nothing and even past success doesn’t count for much…

    • Nikki says:

      Know how is one thing. Talent is another–that is the reality this article doesn’t address. Women aren’t better at making pictures for women any more than men are better at making pictures for men–that’s an indisputable fact. Any suggestion otherwise falls into the rhetorical fly trap that just because you “are” means you’re talented.

  3. millerfilm says:

    All the hyper-rich women in Hollywood could EASILY fund their own movies and TV shows, and pay women on those shows as much as they want. Of course, few, if any, will. Why? Because they don’t want to put their money where their mouths are.

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