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Emmy Nominees Still ‘Nowhere Near Parity,’ Study Finds

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.”

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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