Women and Minorities See Big Gains as First-Time TV Directors

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The percentage of ethnic minority first-time TV directors has more than doubled since 2009-10, and the percentage of women almost tripled, according to a new report released by the Director’s Guild of America on Wednesday.

“Finally, after years of our efforts to educate the industry, hold employers accountable through our contracts, and push them to do better, we’re seeing signs of meaningful improvement,” said DGA president Thomas Schlamme.

In an effort to change the path that leads to directing gigs in television, the organization launched an annual survey in 2009 focused solely on trends in first-time hires.

“The fact is, it all starts with the pipeline,” said Schlamme. “The hiring decisions employers make today can have enormous impact on the composition of the pool in two years, five years, 10 years’ time. Our research shows that when employers actually do the work of being inclusive, they find talented directors who overwhelmingly succeed in establishing longer-term careers.”

The study shows that 56 (or 25 percent of all) first-time hires in the 2016-17 season were ethnic minorities, an improvement from 24 (15 percent of all) in the 2015-16 season.

Seventy-three (32 percent) were women in 2016-17, a rise from 38 (24 percent) in the previous season.

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