Equity on demand : examining gender disparity in the writers for original scripted series on popular streaming services 2013-2017

Stoddart, K 2021, Equity on demand : examining gender disparity in the writers for original scripted series on popular streaming services 2013-2017 , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

With the rise in production of original content for Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, the amount of content being produced has increased overall (Adalian & Fernandez, 2017). As a result, the number of employment opportunities has equally risen. However, women’s share of those opportunities remains stagnant across all platforms, at or below 30% in both nations (Lauzen, 2020; Creative Skillset, 2010). This thesis investigates how the advent of SVoD original content production has affected the employment of women television writers; whether or not women writers working in SVoD writers’ rooms experience their employment in ways similar to women writers working in broadcast and cable; and how, if at all, SVoD providers have adapted their working and employment practices to provide an improved working environment for women in writers’ rooms for original scripted series. The research undertaken here employed a mixed methods approach to present quantitative and qualitative data in support of the main arguments. Quantitative data collection analysed the credits of all original scripted series made by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu between 2013 and 2017, to identify women’s share of credits as a whole and to determine the levels of seniority at which they were able to work in those series. Second, a qualitative interview component identified key thematic areas in which women writers clearly experience their employment differently from male colleagues. Six detailed case studies investigate how specific women writers experienced working in writers rooms for major scripted series.. Those experiences are then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explicate the participants’ interpretations more deeply, drawing conclusions around themes like motherhood, industry entry, professional networking, and the environment of SVoD writers’ rooms. The conclusion from this investigation is that, despite the demonstrable rise in actual production activity, women’s share of and experience in writing for television remained largely unchanged. Gender-based disparity, stereotyping, sexism and sexual harassment remain as important but regrettable markers within the industry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Fairclough, K (Supervisor) and Kosmidou, R (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Depositing User: Kirsten Stoddart
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 10:59
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 10:59
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61430

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