They say a lot can change in a year. For the television industry on many levels that’s certainly been true, thanks in no small part to the rise of social media, which has given a platform to fans to use their voices to speak out against inequalities they see happening. Gone are the days where television shows can go an entire season without a female director and no one noticing or calling attention to it. It’s clear now that people are watching and listening, especially when it comes to diversity. Despite the fact that we’re still smack dab in the middle of the Peak TV era, unfortunately the problems with gender diversity behind the scenes in television haven’t changed all that much.
A little over a year ago, The TV Junkies kicked off the inaugural round of our Women Behind Canadian TV series, in which we spoke with 17 women holding prominent positions behind the scenes of Canadian television’s most popular shows. These women shared their stories of dealing with gender inequality, how diversity plays a role in their day to day jobs and what changes they think need to happen in order to further bridge the gender gap. Looking back now on that series the obvious question is “has it gotten any better?”
“I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the centre,” actress Tatiana Maslany famously said upon winning her Emmy last fall for Orphan Black. While Maslany’s win was celebrated by many in the Canadian television industry, things are still pretty disheartening when it comes to recognition for women in writing and directing categories. In fact, women only accounted for 22 per cent of the nominees for writing and directing in comedy and drama series at both the Emmy and Canadian Screen Awards in 2016.