How Many Women Directors in 70 Years of American TV?

101One way or the other, boys, you gotta hire

at least one woman director.  It’s the law!”

Edited by Maria Giese

HOW MANY EPISODES IN 70 YEARS OF AMERICAN TELEVISION WERE DIRECTED BY WOMEN?

On June 2, 2013, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) announced their picks of the 101 Best Written TV Series, “…honoring seven decades of outstanding television programming and the writers who brought it all to life. The list was determined through online voting by WGAW and WGAE members.”(www.deadline.com).

We women directors here at “WOMEN DIRECTORS: NAVIGATING THE BOYS’ CLUB” had a little extra time on our hands last week, so we decided to count, show-by-show, episode-by-episode…

This is what we learned: out of 9,274 episodes (not including those for which we have insufficient data), just 603 episodes were directed by women.  That’s 6.5%!

So, based on the WGA list, how many episodes of each show were directed by women in 70 years of American television?

Hold on to your hats!

1. The Sopranos – HBO – Created by David Chase (86 episodes, 1 episode directed by a woman).

2. Seinfeld – NBC – Created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld (180 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

3. The Twilight Zone (1959) – CBS – Season One writers: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Robert Presnell, Jr., Rod Serling (158 episodes, 1 episode directed by women).

4. All in the Family – CBS – Developed for Television by Norman Lear, Based on Till Death Do Us Part, Created by Johnny Speight (201 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

5. M*A*S*H – CBS – Developed for Television by Larry Gelbart (256 episodes, 5 episodes directed by women).

6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show – CBS – Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns (168 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women).

7. Mad Men – AMC – Created by Matthew Weiner (76 episodes, 16 episodes directed by women).

8. Cheers – NBC – Created by Glen Charles & Les Charles and James Burrows (275 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

9. The Wire – HBO – Created by David Simon (60 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women).

10. The West Wing – NBC – Created by Aaron Sorkin (154 episodes, 24 episodes directed by women).

11. The Simpsons – FOX – Created by Matt Groening, Developed by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening and Sam Simon (530 episodes, 35 episodes directed by women).

12. I Love Lucy – CBS – “Pilot,” Written by Jess Oppenheimer & Madelyn Pugh & Bob Carroll, Jr. (181 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

13. Breaking Bad – AMC – Created by Vince Gilligan (62 episodes, 16 episodes directed by women).

14. The Dick Van Dyke Show – CBS – Created by Carl Reiner (158 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

15. Hill Street Blues – NBC – Created by Michael Kozoll and Steven Bochco (146 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women).

16. Arrested Development – FOX – Created by Mitchell Hurwitz (68 episodes, 7 episodes directed by women).

17. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – COMEDY CENTRAL – Created by Madeleine Smithberg, Lizz Winstead; Season One – Head Writer: Chris Kreski; Writers: Jim Earl, Daniel J. Goor, Charles Grandy, J.R. Havlan, Tom Johnson, Kent Jones, Paul Mercurio, Guy Nicolucci, Steve Rosenfield, Jon Stewart (Insufficient data).

18. Six Feet Under – HBO – Created by Alan Ball (63 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women).

19. Taxi – ABC – Created by James L. Brooks and Stan Daniels and David Davis and Ed Weinberger (113 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

20. The Larry Sanders Show – HBO – Created by Garry Shandling & Dennis Klein (Insufficient data).

21. 30 Rock – NBC – Created by Tina Fey (138 episodes, 41 episodes directed by women).

22. Friday Night Lights – NBC – Developed for Television by Peter Berg, Inspired by the Book by H.G. Bissinger (76 episodes, 7 episodes directed by women).

23. Frasier – NBC – Created by David Angell & Peter Casey & David Lee, Based on the Character “Frasier Crane” Created by Glen Charles & Les Charles (264 episodes, 35 episodes directed by women).

24. Friends – NBC – Created by Marta Kauffman & David Crane (236 episodes, 18 episodes directed by women).

25. Saturday Night Live – NBC – Season One: Writing Supervised by Walter Kempley, Harry Shearer; Written by: Ann Beatts, Chevy Chase, Tom Davis, Al Franken, Rosie Michaels, Garrett Morris, Michael O’Donoghue, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Alan Zweibel (Insufficient data).

26. The X-Files – FOX – Created by Chris Carter (182 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

27. Lost – ABC – Created by Jeffrey Lieber and J.J. Abrams & Damon Lindelof (121 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women).

28. ER – NBC – Created Michael Crichton (331 episodes, 55 episodes directed by women).

29. The Cosby Show – NBC – Created by Ed Weinberger & Michael Leeson and William Cosby, Jr., Ed.D. (201 episodes, 10 episodes directed by women).

30. Curb Your Enthusiasm – HBO – Created by Larry David (80 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

31. The Honeymooners – CBS – Season One writers: Herbert Finn, Marvin Marx, A.J. Russell, Leonard Stern, Walter Stone, Sydney Zelinka (Insufficient Data).

32. Deadwood – HBO – Created by David Milch (36 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

33. Star Trek – NBC – Created by Gene Roddenberry (79 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

34. Modern Family – ABC – Created by Steven Levitan & Christopher Lloyd (96 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women).

35. Twin Peaks – ABC – “Pilot,” Written by Mark Frost & David Lynch (30 episodes, 5 episodes directed by women).

36. NYPD Blue – ABC – created by David Milch & Steven Bochco (263 episodes, 30 episodes directed by women).

37. The Carol Burnett Show – CBS – Season One: Written by Bill Angelos, Stan Burns, Don Hinkley, Buz Kohan, Mike Marmer, Gail Parent, Kenny Solms, Saul Turtletaub; Writing Supervised by Arnie Rosen (Insufficient data).

38. Battlestar Galactica (2005) – SYFY – Developed by Ronald D. Moore, Based on the Series Battlestar Galactica Created by Glen A. Larson (75 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

39.  Sex & the City – HBO – Created by Darren Star, Based on the Book by Candace Bushnell (94 episodes, 21 episodes directed by women).

40. Game of Thrones – HBO – Created by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, Based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (30 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

41. The Bob Newhart Show – CBS – Created by David Davis and Lorenzo Music (142 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

41. Your Show of Shows – NBC – Season One: Written by Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, Max Liebman (Insufficient Data).

43. Downton Abbey *TIE – PBS – Created by Julian Fellowes (24 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

43. Law & Order – NBC – Created by Dick Wolf (456 episodes, 32 episodes directed by women).

43. thirtysomething  – ABC – Created by Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick (First 3 seasons*: 62 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women). *incomplete data.

46. Homicide: Life on the Street – NBC – Created by Paul Attanasio, Based on the Book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (122 episodes, 16 episodes directed by women).

46. St. Elsewhere – NBC – Created by Joshua Brand & John Falsey, Developed by Mark Tinker / John Masius (137 episodes, 11 episodes directed by women).

48. Homeland – SHOWTIME – Developed by Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa, Based on the Original Israeli Series Prisoners of War by Gideon Raff (24 episodes, 1 episodes directed by women).

49. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – WB – Created by Joss Whedon (144 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women).

50. The Colbert Report – COMEDY CENTRAL – Season One writers: Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Eric Drysdale, Peter Gwinn, Jay Katsir, Laura Krafft, Allison Silverman (Insufficient Data).

50. The Good Wife – CBS – Created by Robert King & Michelle King (90 episodes, 22 episodes directed by women).

50. The Office (UK) – BBC – Created by Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant (UK version, insufficient data).

53. Northern Exposure – CBS – Created by Joshua Brand & John Falsey (110 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women).

54. The Wonder Years – ABC – Created by Neal Marlens & Carol Black (115 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women).

55. L.A. Law – NBC – Created by Steven Bochco & Terry Louise Fisher (172 episodes, 39 episodes directed by women).

56. Sesame Street – PBS – Created by Joan Ganz Cooney (insufficient data).

57. Columbo – NBC – Created by Richard Levinson & William Link (69 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

58. Fawlty Towers  – BBC – Written by John Cleese & Connie Booth (insufficient data).

58. The Rockford Files  – NBC – Created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell (111 episodes, 16 episodes directed by women).

60. Freaks and Geeks  – NBC – Created by Paul Feig (18 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

60. Moonlighting – ABC – Created by Glenn Gordon Caron (66 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

62. Roots – ABC – Written by William Blinn, M. Charles Cohen, Ernest Kinoy, James Lee; Based on the Book by Alex Haley (insufficient data).

63. Everybody Loves Raymond  – CBS – Created by Philip Rosenthal (210 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women).

63. South Park – COMEDY CENTRAL  – Created by Matt Stone & Trey Parker (237 episodes, one episode directed by women).

65. Playhouse 90 – CBS – Season One writers: Edna Anhalt, Edmund Beloin, Harold Jack Bloom, Marc Brandel, George Bruce, James P. Cavanagh, Whitfiled Cook, Helen Doss, Scott Fitzgerald, Devery Freeman, Frank D. Gilroy, Helen Howe, Speed Lamkin, Ernest Lehman, Herbert Little, Jr., Don Mankiewicz, Elick Moll, Paul Monash, Dean Reisner, Norman Retchin, Selma Robinson, William Sackheim, Rod Serling, Leonard Spigelgass, Leslie Stevens, Brandon Thomas, David Victor, Charles M. Warren, Hagar Wilde, Cornell Woolrich (insufficient data).

66. Dexter  – SHOWTIME – Developed for Television by James Manos, Jr., Based on the Novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (84 episodes, 1 episode directed by women).

66. The Office (US) – NBC – Created by Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant, Developed by Greg Daniels, Based on the BBC Series The Office (201 episodes, 10 episodes directed by women).

68. My So-Called Life – ABC – Created by Winnie Holzman (19 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women).

69. The Golden Girls – NBC – Created by Susan Harris (173 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

70. The Andy Griffith Show – CBS – Episode 1, “The New Housekeeper,” Written by Jack Elinson and Charles Stewart (249 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

71. 24  – FOX – Created by Joel Surnow & Robert Cochran (192 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

71. Roseanne – ABC – Created by Matt Williams, Based on a Character Created by Roseanne Barr (221 episodes, 23 episodes directed by women).

71. The Shield  – FX – Created by Shawn Ryan (88 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women).

74. House  – FOX – Created by David Shore (177 episodes, 14 episodes directed by women).

74. Murphy Brown – CBS – Created by Diane English (insufficient data).

76. Barney Miller – ABC – Created by Danny Arnold & Theodore J. Flicker (insufficient data).

76. I, Claudius  – PBS – Written by Robert Graves and Jack Pulman (13 episodes, insufficient data).

78. The Odd Couple – ABC – Episode 1, “The Fight of the Felix,” Written by Peggy Elliott & Ed Scharlach (114 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

79. Alfred Hitchcock Presents – CBS – Season One writers – Gwen Bagni, Samuel Blas, Robert Blees, Ray Bradbury, Richard Carr, James Cavanagh, Eustace Cockrell, Francis Cockrell, Marian Cockrell, John Collier, Robert C. Dennis, Mel Dinelli, Stanley Ellin, Fred Freiberger, Irwin Gielgud, Gina Kaus, Terence Maples, Richard Pedicini, Louis Pollock, Joseph Ruscoll, A.J. Russell, Stirling Silliphant, Andrew Solt, Harold Swanton, Victor Wolfson, Cornell Woolrich (Zero episodes directed by women).

79. Monty Python’s Flying Circus – BBC – Conceived and Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Neil Innes, Terry Jones, Michael Palin (insufficient data).

79. Star Trek: The Next Generation  – SYN – Created by Gene Roddenberry (178 episodes, 7 episodes directed by women).

79. Upstairs, Downstairs – PBS – Created by Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins (68 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women).

83. Get Smart – NBC – “Pilot,” Written by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry (138 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

84. The Defenders  – CBS – Created by Reginald Rose (18 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women).

84. Gunsmoke – CBS – Episode 1, “Matt Gets It,” Written by Charles Marquis Warren & John Meston (635 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

86. Justified – FX –  Developed for Television by Graham Yost, Based on the Short Story “Fire in the Hole” by Elmore Leonard (52 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women).

87. Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) – CBS – Created by Nat Hiken (insufficient data).

88. Band of Brothers – HBO – Written by Erik Bork, E. Max Frye, Tom Hanks, Erik Jendresen, Bruce C. McKenna, John Orloff, Graham Yost; Based on the Book by Stephan E. Ambrose (10 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

89. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In – NBC – Season One: Written by Chris Beard, Phil Hahn, John Hanrahan, Coslough Johnson, Paul Keyes, Marc London, Allan Manings, David Panich, Hugh Wedlock, Digby Wolfe  (Insufficient data).

90. The Prisoner – CBS – Premiere Episode: Written by George Markstein and David Tomblin  (Insufficient data).

91. Absolutely Fabulous (UK) – BBC – Episode 1, “Fashion,” Written by Jennifer Saunders, Based on an Original Idea by Jennifer Saunders & Dawn French  (Insufficient data).

The Muppet Show – SYN – Season One: Written by Jack Burns, Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, Marc London  (Insufficient data).

93. Boardwalk Empire – HBO – Created by Terence Winter, Based on the Book Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson  (36 episodes, 2 episodes directed by women).

94. Will & Grace – NBC – Created by David Kohan & Max Mutchnick  (184 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

95. Family Ties – NBC – Created by Gary David Goldberg  (168 episodes, 12 episodes directed by women).

96. Lonesome Dove – CBS – Teleplay by Bill Wittliff, Based on the Novel Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry  insufficient data).

96. Soap – ABC – Created by Susan Harris  (Insufficient data).

98. The Fugitive – ABC – Episode 1, “Where the Action Is,” Written by Harry Kronman  (120 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women).

98. Late Night with David Letterman *TIE – NBC – Season One: Writing Supervised by Merrill Markoe, Writers: Andy Breckman, Tom Gammill, David Letterman, Richard Morris, Gerard Mulligan, Max Pross, Karl Tiedemann, Steve Winer  (Insufficient data).

98. Louie – FX -Season One: Written and Directed by Louis C.K. (39 episodes, Zero episodes directed by women).

101. Oz – HBO – Created by Tom Fontana  (56 episodes, 10 episodes directed by women).

For more information on the “WGA’s 101 Best Written TV Series List” visit: http://www.wga.org/101tv.html or www.wgaeast.org/tv101.”

Note: Our calculations are based on our own analyses made from Wikipedia breakdowns of episodic TV shows.  It is a work-in-progress. Please report errors or omissions.

How Many TV Episodes Directed by Women?

92“I don’t need you tell me how girls act! I’m a director!”

 

Edited by Maria Giese

Readers have been asking us: HOW MANY EPISODES OF AMERICAN TV ACTUALLY GET DIRECTED BY WOMEN?  So we ran the numbers. Note that zero shows exclude male directors, including “Girls,” “The L-Word,” and other women-driven shows.

Many shows with female leads hire almost no women, like “Alias,” “Nikita,” and Mariska Hargitay’s “Law & Order – SVU.”

And the most egregious shows that hired virtually NO WOMAN DIRECTORS include, “X-Files” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Sopranos” and “Fringe.”

Other shows with risible numbers of women directors include perennial favorites like, “Law and Order,” “SVU,” “L&O – Criminal Intent,” “Dexter,” “CSI,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “House,” “Six Feet Under,” “Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men”– but frankly they are all bad with almost no exceptions.

Enjoy the comedy, in alphabetical order for your convenience:

Alphas (Open 4 Business Productions/SyFy) – 24 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women.

Arrested Development – Fox – 68 episodes, 7 episodes directed by women.

Austin & Ally (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney Channel) – 32 episodes, ZERO episodes directed by women.

Awake – (Kyle Killen) – NBC – 13 episodes, 1 episode by a women director.

Awkward (On Site Productions/MTV) – 29 episodes, 10 episodes directed by women.

Battlestar Gallactica – Sci-Fi (SyFy) – 75 episodes, TWO episodes directed by women.

Big Bang Theory – Chuck Lorre -135 Episodes – ZERO women.

Bluebloods – (Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess) CBS– 67 episodes, 7 episodes by women directors.

Boardwalk Empire (Home Box Office/HBO) – 36 episodes, 2 episodes by women directors.

Body of Proof  – (FTP Productions/ABC) – 39 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women.

Bones – Fox Broadcasting Co – 166 episodes – 20 episodes by women directors.

Boss – (Boss Kane Productions/Starz!) – 18 episodes, ONE directed by a woman.

Breaking Bad – AMC –  62 episodes, 16 episodes directed by women.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The WB/UPN – 144 episodes, FOUR episodes directed by women.

Burn Notice – (USA Network, Matt Nix) – 98 episodes, 8 episodes directed by women.

Californication – (Showtime) – 72 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women.

Castle – (ABC Studios/ABC) – 58 episodes, 8 episodes directed by women.

Chemistry – (Chemistry Series/Cinemax) – 13 episodes, ZERO women directors.

Chicago Fire – Dick Wolf – NBC – 24 episodes, 3 episodes by Women directors.

Community – (Remote Broadcasting/NBC) – 84 episodes, 3 episodes by women directors.

Covert Affairs – (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) – 42 episodes, 5 episodes directed by women.

CSI – Jerry Bruckheimer – CBS Broadcasting/CBS – 295 episodes – SEVEN episodes by women directors

Criminal Minds – CBS – 186 episodes, 24 episodes by women directors.

Cougar Town (FTP Productions/ABC) – 76 episodes, 14 episodes directed by women.

Desperate Housewives – ABC – 180 episodes, 27 by women.

Dallas (Horizon Scripted Television/TNT) – 25 episodes – 2 episodes by women.

Deadwood – HBO – 36 episodes. ZERO women directors.

Dexter – Showtime Pictures Development Company/Showtime – 84 Episodes – ONE episode to a women director.

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (Twentieth Century Fox Television/ABC) – 20 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women.

Drop Dead Diva (Woodridge Productions/Lifetime) – 14 episodes directed by women.

Fairly Legal (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) – 23 episodes, 3 directed by women.

Falling Skies (Turner North Center Productions/TNT) – 29 episodes, one directed by a women.

Family Guy – HBO – 210 episodes, 14 episodes directed by women.

Franklin & Bash (Woodridge Productions/TNT) – 20 episodes, 2 episodes directed by woman.

Freaks and Geeks – NBC – 18 episodes, 2 directed by women.

Friday Night Lights – NBC/The 101 – 76 episodes, 7 directed by women.

Fringe (Fox Broadcasting) – 100 episodes, ZERO women directors.

Futurama – Fox – 140 episodes, 15 directed by women.

Game of Thrones – HBO – 30 episodes, 2 episodes by a woman director.

Girls – HBO – 20 episodes, 10 episodes by women directors.

Glee – Fox Broadcasting Company – 88 episodes, 9 to women directors.

Gossip Girl – Warner Bros. Television/CW) – 121 Episodes, 20 episodes by women directors.

Gravity Falls – Disney Channel – 17 episodes, ZERO women directors.

Grey’s Anatomy – ABC Studios/ABC, Touchstone, 196 episodes, 46 episodes by women directors.

Grimm (Open 4 Business Productions/NBC) – 42 episodes, 8 episodes directed by women.

Harry’s Law – David E. Kelley, NBC – 34 episodes, 2 episodes by women directors.

Hart of Dixie (Bonanza Productions/CW) – 44 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women.

Hawaii Five-O – CBS – 71 episodes, 6 episodes by women directors.

Hawthorne – TNT – 30 episodes – 6 episodes directed by women.

Hell on Wheels – Entertainment One Television USA/AMC – 20 episodes, 1 directed by a woman director.

Heroes – NBC – 77 episodes – 6 directed by women.

Homeland – 24 episodes, 1 episode directed by a woman.

Homocide – NBC – 122 episodes, 16 episodes by women directors.

House of Anubis – Nickelodeon UK – 183 episodes, SIX episodes by women directors.

House – 177 episodes, 14 episodes by women directors.

How I Met Your Mother – 184 episodes 12 DIRECTED BY MEN.

Hung – HBO – 30 episodes, 12 episodes directed by women.

In Plain Sight – USA Network, David Maples – 61 episodes – 9 episodes directed by women.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia – FX – 94 episodes, ZERO women directors

In Treatment – HBO – 106 episodes – 11 episodes by women directors.

Jessie (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney Channel) – 43 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women.

Justified (Woodridge Productions/FX) – 52 episodes, 3 episodes by women directors

Lab Rats (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney XD) – 27 episodes, ZERO episodes directed by women

Law & Order SVU – NBC – Dick Wolf – 319 episodes, 26 episodes by women directors.

Law & Order – NBC – Dick Wolf – 456 episodes, 32 episodes by women directors.

Law & Order – Criminal Intent – NBC – Dick Wolf – 195 episodes, 19 episodes directed by women.

Let’s Stay Together (Breakdown Productions/BET) – 42 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women.

Leverage (Leverage Productions/TNT) – 77 episodes, THREE episodes to women directors.

Lie To Me – Fox Network – 48 episodes – 7 episodes by women directors.

Lost – ABC – 121 episodes, FOUR directed by women.

Mad Men – AMC Cable  Network – 72 episodes, 15 episodes by four women directors.

Make It or Break It – ABC Family – 48 episodes – 3 episodes directed by two women.

Modern Family – Twentieth Century Fox Television/ABC – 96 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women.

NCIS – CBS – 234 episodes, 4 episodes directed by women.

New Girl (Twentieth Century Fox Television/FOX) – 49 episodes, 5 episodes to women directors.

Nikita – NS Pictures/CW – 67 episodes, ONE episode to a women director.

Nurse Jackie – Nurse Productions/Showtime – 56 episodes, 6 episodes by women directors.

Once Upon A Time (Digital 49 Productions/ABC) – 44 episodes, 3 episodes directed by women.

Pair of Kings (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney XD) – 67 episodes, 11 directed by one women.

Parenthood – NBC – 68 episodes – 8 episodes directed by women.

Parks & Recreation – Open 4 Business Productions/NBC – 90 episodes, 10 episodes by women directors.

Perception (FTP Productions/TNT) – 10 episodes, 1 episode directed by a woman.

Person of Interest – CBS – 45 episodes – ZERO women directors

Pretty Little Liars – ABC Family – 85 episodes – 21 episodes directed by women.

Psych – USA Network – 109 episodes – 9 episodes by women directors.

Raising Hope – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/FOX – 66 episodes, 8 women directors.

Reed Between the Lines (Breakdown Productions/BET) – 25 episodes, 7 episodes directed by women.

Rescue Me – FX Network – 93 episodes, THREE episodes by a women.

Retired at 35 (King Street Productions/TV Land) – 22 episodes, ZERO women directors

Revenge (ABC Studios/ABC) – 44 episodes, 5 episodes by women directors.

Revolution – NBC –  16 episodes – ZERO women directors

Rizzoli & Ilses – Horizon Scripted Television/TNT – 43 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women directors.

Rookie Blue – Canadian – 39 episodes – ZERO women directors.

Royal Pains – USA Network – 62 Episodes – 16 episodes directed by women.

Rules of Engagement – CBS – 98 episodes – 18 episodes directed by women

Scandal (FTP Productions/ABC) – 29 episodes, 7 directed by women.

Saving Grace – 46 episodes, 11 episodes by women directors.

Scrubs – NBC – 182 episodes, 15 episodes directed by women directors.

Seinfeld – NBC – 180 episodes – ZERO women directors.

Sex and the City – HBO – 94 episodes, 21 episodes directed by women.

Shake it Up (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney Channel) – 66 episodes, 3 episodes by women directors.

Shameless – Showtime – 36 episodes – 4 episodes by women directors.

Single Ladies (Bling Productions/VH1) – 25 episodes – 19 episodes directed by women.

Six feet Under – HBO – 63 episodes, 9 episodes directed by women.

Smallville – 218 episodes, 11 episodes directed by women.

Smash (NBC Studios/NBC) – 32 episodes, 8 episodes directed by 4 women.

Sons of Anarchy – Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group/FX) – 66 episodes, 11 episodes directed by women.

Sopranos – HBO – David Chase – 86 episodes – zero women directors.

Suburgatory (Bonanza Productions/ABC) – 44 episodes, 7 episodes directed by women.

Suits (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) –28 episodes, 5 episodes directed by women.

Supah Ninjas (Uptown Productions/Nickelodeon) – 39 episodes, zero women directors.

Supernatural (NS Pictures/CW) – 172 episodes, ONE episode by a women director.

The Big C (Showtime) 38 episodes, 11 episodes directed by women.

The Game (Breakdown Productions/BET) – 106 episodes, 10 episodes by women directors.

The Good Wife – 90 episodes, 22 episodes directed by women.

The Inbetweeners (On Site Productions/MTV) – 18 episodes, ZERO women directors.

The L Word – 68 episodes, 19 DIRECTED BY MEN.

The League – FX Network – 45 episodes, 5 episodes directed by one women.

The Mentalist – CBS – 116 episodes, 14 episodes directed by women.

The Middle (Warner Bros. Television/ABC) – 96 episodes, 42 episodes directed by women.

The Newsroom (Home Box Office/HBO) – 11 episodes, 1 by a woman director.

The Office – Universal Network Television/NBC – 201 episodes, 10 episodes by women directors

The Shield – 88 episodes – 6 episodes by women directors.

The Walking Dead (Stalwart Films/AMC) – 35 episodes – 4 episodes directed by women.

The Wedding Band (Terrapin Productions/TBS) – 10 episodes, 1 episode directed by a woman.

The West Wing – 154 episodes, 24 episodes by women directors

The Wire – HBO – 50 episodes, 9 directed by women.

The X-Files – Fox Network – 182 episodes – 2 women directors.

Torchwood: Miracle Day (Bad Wolf Productions/Starz!) – 10 episodes, 2 episodes directed by a woman.

Treme – Home Box Office/HBO) – 31 episodes, 6 episodes directed by women.

True Blood (Home Box Office/HBO) – 69 episodes, 4 episodes by women directors.

Two and a Half Men – Chuck Lorre, CBS – 224 episodes, 22 episodes by women directors.

Two Broke Girls (Bonanza Productions/CBS) – 47 episodes, 2 episodes to women directors.

Ugly Betty – ABC – 85 Episodes, 16 episodes directed by women.

Unforgettable – CBS – 22 episodes, 3 by women

Vampire Diaries – Bonanza Productions/CW – 89 episodes, 10 episodes by 5 women directors.

Veep – Home Box Office/HBO – 18 episodes, 2 episodes to women directors.

Walking Dead – AMC – 35 Episodes, 6 episodes directed by women.

Weeds – Showtime – 102 episodes, 9 episodes directed by 5 women directors.

Warehouse 13 – Universal Network Television/SyFy) – 50 episodes, 9 episodes directed by 2 women.

White Collar – USA Network – 62 Episodes, 8 episodes directed by women.

Without a Trace – CBS – 160 episodes, 24 episodes directed by women.

Workaholics (50/50 Productions/Comedy Central) – 40 episodes, zero women directors.

30 Rock (NBC Studios/NBC) – 138 episodes, 41 episodes directed by 6 women.

90210  – CW TV Networks – 114 episodes, 31 episodes directed by women.

Note: Our calculations are based on our own analyses made from Wikipedia breakdowns of episodic TV shows.  It is a work-in-progress. Please report errors or omissions.

DGA “Best of” Lists – Just Curious…

Edited by Maria Giese

One of the positive efforts the Director’s Guild of America makes for its women and ethnic minority director members is to annually publish a list of the episodic TV shows with the “WORST” and “BEST” records of hiring women and ethnic minority directors.

There are two lists for “WORST OF” shows: 1) shows that hired NO women or ethnic minorities at all, and 2) shows that hired women and minorities to direct fewer than 15% of their episodes.

Then, there is a “BEST OF” list!  This list highlights the shows that hired women and ethnic minorities on more than 30% of the episodes for the season.  Those are the shows we want to support.

But we were JUST CURIOUS…

Women are not minorities, we make up 51% of the population.  Some of us don’t believe that, just because we are discriminated against in our industry (resulting in our skewed ratio of membership within our Guild), we should be considered “minorities,” even though we women are comprised of a great and marvelous blend of ethnicities.

So, we wondered what the DGA “BEST OF” list would look like if WE TOOK OUT THE MEN!  Below are the results:

(The whole DGA 2011/2012 Diversity Report is available here: http://www.dga.org/News/PressReleases/2012/092712-DGA-Report-Assesses-Director-Diversity-in-Hiring-Practices.aspx)

DGA “BEST OF” LIST – RECALCULATED BY OUR TEAM:

Alphas (Open 4 Business Productions/SyFy) – DGA “Best of” – 30% – 24 episodes, 4 episodes directed by 3 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 16.6%

Austin & Ally (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney Channel) – DGA “Best of” – 33% – 32 episodes, ZERO episodes directed by women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 0%

Awkward (On Site Productions/MTV) – DGA “Best of” – 50% – 29 episodes, 10 episodes directed by 3 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 34%

Body of Proof  – (FTP Productions/ABC) – DGA “Best of” – 31% – 39 episodes, 9 episodes directed by 2 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 23%

Boss (Boss Kane Productions/Starz!) – DGA “Best of” – 38% – 18 episodes, one directed by a woman – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 6%

Covert Affairs – (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) – DGA “Best of” – 43% – 42 episodes, 5 episodes directed by 4 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 12%

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23(Twentieth Century Fox Television/ABC) – DGA “Best of” – 42% – 20 episodes, 6 episodes directed by 4 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 30%

Drop Dead Diva (Woodridge Productions/Lifetime) – DGA “Best of” – 54% – 14 episodes directed by 5 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 36%

Fairly Legal – (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) –  DGA “Best of” – 33% – 23 episodes, 3 directed by 3 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 13%

Franklin & Bash – (Woodridge Productions/TNT) – DGA “Best of” – 30% – 20 episodes, 2 episodes directed by 1 woman – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 10%

Grimm – (Open 4 Business Productions/NBC) – DGA “Best of” – 48% – 42 episodes, 8 episodes directed by 4 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 19%

Jessie – (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney Channel) – DGA “Best of” – 58% – 43 episodes, 3 episodes directed by 2 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 7%

Lab Rats – (It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney XD) – DGA “Best of” – 80% – 27 episodes, ZERO episodes directed by women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 0%

Let’s Stay Together (Breakdown Productions/BET) – DGA “Best of” – 100% – 42 episodes, 9 episodes directed by 4 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 21%

Pair of Kings
(It’s a Laugh Productions/Disney XD) – DGA “Best of” – 62% – 67 episodes, 11 directed by one women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 16%

Reed Between the Lines – (Breakdown Productions/BET) – DGA “Best of” – 100%  PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 28%

Scandal – (FTP Productions/ABC/Shonda Rhimes) – DGA “Best of” – 67% – 29 episodes, 6 directed by 4 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 21%

Single Ladies (Bling Productions/VH1) – DGA “Best of” – 100% – 25 episodes – 19 episodes directed by 3 women directors – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 76%

Suburgatory(Bonanza Productions/ABC) – DGA “Best of” – 38% – 44 episodes, 7 episodes directed by 5 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 16%

Suits (Open 4 Business Productions/USA) – DGA “Best of” – 64% – 28 episodes, 5 episodes directed by 4 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 18%

The Game – (Breakdown Productions/BET) – DGA “Best of” – 100% – 106 episodes, 10 episodes by 3 women directors – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 9%

The Middle – (Warner Bros. Television/ABC) – DGA “Best of” – 46% – 96 episodes, 41 episodes directed by 5 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 43%

The Walking Dead – (Stalwart Films/AMC) – DGA “Best of” – 53% – 35 episodes – 4 directed by 4 women (pilot co-directed with a male director) – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 11%

Torchwood: Miracle Day – (Bad Wolf Productions/Starz!) – DGA “Best of” – 30% – 10 episodes directed by women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 20%

Treme – (Home Box Office/HBO) – DGA “Best of” 60% – 31 episodes, 6 episodes directed by 3 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 19%

Warehouse 13 – Universal Network Television/SyFy) – DGA “Best of” – 38% – 50 episodes, 9 episodes directed by 2 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 18%

30 Rock (NBC Studios/NBC) – DGA “Best of” – 36% – 138 episodes, 41 episodes directed by 6 women – PERCENT OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – 30%

Note: Our calculations are based on our own analyses made from Wikipedia breakdowns of episodic TV shows.  It is a work-in-progress. Please report errors or omissions.

2013 DGA Women Directors Summit Notes

2013 DGA WOMEN DIRECTORS SUMMIT

SUMMARY & NOTES

Edited by Maria Giese

“On March 2, the DGA’s Women’s Steering Committee (WSC) hosted an all-day event dedicated to the empowerment of women directors and the support of female voices, stories and images in film and television. Held in the Guild’s Los Angeles theater complex, the 2013 Women of Action Summit featured presentations, panels, roundtable discussions and a keynote address by actor and advocate Geena Davis. The ultimate goal of the summit was to help build a thriving coalition united in the goal of increasing employment for women DGA members.”               
 
DGA Website – March 2013
 

INTRODUCTION:

The day included opening remarks by Academy Award-winner and advocate, Geena Davis, who connected the need for the global proliferation of more positive images of women and girls to the immediacy of getting more women behind the camera here in Hollywood. Currently, according to the latest stats from the DGA, women only helm 5% of feature films and 15% of episodic TV shows.

Victoria Hochberg, who introduced Geena Davis set the tone for the day with a speech about the history of the DGA Women’s Committee and the need for courage and principles in the face of an industry that often does not honor the civil rights laws of our nation.  (Hochberg was one of the six who started the DGA Women’s Committee in 1979).  She reminded us of our history, spoke the difficulties involved in attaining the employment data.  In 1979 women made up one half of one percent of employed DGA directors. She spoke of getting the DGA to file a class-action lawsuit against three major studios in 1983.

DGA WSC SUMMIT – SCRIBES’ NOTES

OPENINGGeena Davis: The number of Women in front of the camera stagnates at 17%.  Davis is about to initiate the first Global Women in Media Study.  If the number of women in film and TV continues to rise at the rate it’s going, we will have parity in 500 years.  In family films, there is one female character for every three male characters.  Even in crowd scenes, women make up just 17%.  In films, the ratio of female key film production positions has been exactly the same since 1949.

Geena Davis: The most powerful agents of change are the women in this room.  We must feel the “Fierce urgency of the now” (Martin Luther King).

________________________________________________________________________

PANEL ONE: “Employment Equity Matters,” moderated by Martha Coolidge (director of 46 titles and the first and only female president of the DGA), included successful feature directors: Debbie Allen, Catherine Hardwicke, Amy Heckerling, Mimi Leder, Nancy Meyers, Robin Swicord, Betty Thomas, and Nia Vardalos.

Top women feature directors suffer discrimination as well.  It is our responsibility to speak out. “This mono-culture we’re living in is someone else’s point of view” – Robin Swicord.

We should help start a studio for women-focused films.  Producer/agent “Directors Lists” are mostly/exclusively male directors.

Debbie Allen:  “It’s action, not sitting in a room and talking. We need ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!”

Nancy Meyers: We need to support women execs.

Nia Vardalos: “Use our economic power.  Boycotts.”  

Mimi Leder: “Start an all-women studio.”

Debbie Allen suggests “…holding out, starting a movement, a revolution.”

Robin Swicord suggests we “…hire an attorney to go to court; a Federally protected civil rights case.  The DGA has the power and resources sitting right here.” 

Betty Thomas: “Stand up!”

Martha Coolidge asks: “What can we aim for to make the equity a reality?”

Mimi Leder: Aim to start a studio for women.

Amy Heckerling: For women to support women.

Debbie Allen: Create a committee for a movement.  Must have a concept, title, be viral, use economic power, inspire, and respect action.

Catherine Hardwicke: Celebrate & encourage people who do hire women.

Martha Coolidge: Utilize the internet to do our own publicity/promotion.

Nancy Meyers: Embrace all women executives at studios and meet w/studios.  Make noise wherever you can.

Robin Swicord: Employment access is a federally protected civil right.  Involve US labor bureau and hire a lawyer.  Approach the problem legally.

Audience Comments: “Never waste a connection– enlist men in the movement!”  “Recreate this SUMMIT event for general DGA population.”  “Work it like a war– military style.”

________________________________________________________________________

PANEL TWO: “Making the Choice for Change”

This panel was moderated by Penelope Spheeris.  It was a look into the future for women, envisioning a “paradigm shift” brought dynamic concepts for realizing equality for women directors from panelists Valerie Faris, Victoria Hochberg, Mary Lambert, Lynne Littman, Freida Mock, Kimberly Peirce as well as guests Keri Putnam (Sundance), Jennifer Siebel Newsom (Miss Representation), and Cathy Schulman (Women in Film).

Cathy Schulman:  Discrimination against women in our industry is tantamount to an economic rejection of women.

Penelope Spheeris: We need a “Rosa Parks” character to rally around.

Victoria Hochberg: We women must work together, internal fractiousness weakens women as a whole.

Lynne Littman:  “DGA Working in the Trade requirement is patently unfair to women.”

Valerie Faris: Women directors get more respect when directing with a male co-director.

Kimberly Peirce: Discrimination is worse in Hollywood than anywhere else in her experience.

Mary Lambert:  We need to think in terms of legislation.

Other Suggestions:  Have another Summit (just like this), but in Theatre 1 (much bigger).  Get more DGA men involved in our plight.  Get the power of the DGA behind us.  Make sure studios have master lists of women directors.  We need to be activists—take a stand.  DGA programs to help women across categories.  A director’s programs that emulates the AD Training Program. More DGA studio mentorships.  “We need to live like no help is coming.”  We need a business plan.  We need to litigate at the same time.

Keri Putnam: There has been no progress since 1998.  Compare gender at levels of success–there is greater parity in school, docs, as economic stakes rise less gender parity.  It’s an economic rejection of women.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Miss Representation, now in 38 countries, had 450 funders through crowd funding. It takes a village and there is strength in numbers.  We must remember our consumer power.

Victoria Hochberg:  WSC history.  (Under-employment of women directors) must be a leading issue in negotiations.  There has to be tension and a little bit of a threat behind it.  Business is not “polite.”

Kimberly Peirce: Attack hiring within the agency system – make “the list” more public and open.

Frieda Mock: Be strategic.

Valerie Faris:  Get the entire DGA behind this.  Look to men for demonstration of how women should be respected.  Gather statistics that show the competency of women.  Focus on the business aspects.  Convert “exceptions” into the norms.

Mary Lambert:  Change the paradigm.  There must be broad, sweeping social change.  Think in terms of legislation.

Audience Comments: We should establish a Publicity & Marketing Committee similar to the one at the WGA to promote women-directed films.

_____________________________________________________________________

PANEL THREE: “Creating Opportunities for Women in Film & TV”

This panel was moderated by BET’s Loretha Jones. The panelists included showrunners, producers and directors, Paris Barclay, Lesli Linka Glatter, Matt Weiner, Susan Cartsonis, Betsy Thomas, Callie Khouri, and Lillah McCarthy. This group of seasoned producers is among the executives most dedicated to helping create opportunities for women directors in episodic TV.

Paris Barclay substantiates the low numbers of women directors by pointing to statistics: DGA has around 15,000 members; there are 1158 female director members;  13.48% of the DGA are women directors. Of 3,100 episodes in 2012, 15% were directed by women, which is higher than the percentage of women directors in the guild.  He suggests that from that perspective the studios can argue that they’re actually doing pretty well in terms of making “Good Faith Efforts” to hire more women.

Matthew Weiner concedes there is an institutional bias against women directors.  He predicts next generation will see improvement.  He suggests seeking directing jobs from within, for example getting work on TV shows as a script supervisor with an eye to directing at some later point.

Lillah McCarthy:  We need more women Showrunners.  Women need to empower themselves/hire themselves.

Paris Barclay: Women need advocates to “sell” them.

Susan Cartsonis: Women’s issues not taken seriously in the studio system.  All agree “Shame Campaign” works on producers/showrunners.

Audience Question:  Do producers and/or showrunners in the industry feel any responsibility to comply with BA Article 15, FLTTA Article 19?  Does Hollywood have a responsibility to act under the jurisdiction of US equal employment laws?

Paris Barclay responds:  Producers need on make “Good Faith Efforts” to show they are trying.  The fact that the number of employed women TV directors is higher than the percentage of women directors in the Guild is an indicator that their “Good Faith Efforts” are functioning.

Lillah McCarthy says producers can hire from the cast/crew.  It’s subjective, merit-based—whatever works best for the show.

 ________________________________________________________________________

LUNCHTIME ROUNDTABLE SESSIONS:

These lunchtime discussions involved women directors brainstorming solutions for increasing employment for women directors based on a list of questions prepared by the organizers of the Summit.

These sessions were successful in unifying the 150 directors present.  The participants were full of ideas, strong in voicing their opinions, and generous in their desire to work toward employment equity for women directors.  Women are put in positions in which we must compete against one another for scant few jobs in an industry that discriminates against them.

Of the many ideas that emerged (including having women directors march wearing Burkas), perhaps the most significant proposals of the day were 1) hiring a lawyer to take legal action, 2) hiring a publicist to draw media attention to the problem, and 3) making an appeal to the newly appointed DGA Feature Film and Television Negotiations Committee co-chairs, Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme, and their team (including Stephen Soderbergh and Jonathan Mostow).  It was suggested that DGA women encourage them to make equal employment for women DGA members the central issue of the 2013 DGA negotiations.

COMBINED SCRIBES’ NOTES ON ROUNDTABLE SESSIONS:

(15 Tables, 10 Participants at Each Table)

  1. How do we make the DGA care about equity for women in the DGA?
  2. How do we incorporate the press into our effort?  Get a publicist.
  3. Hire a labor lawyer, someone who women are going to love – Jay Roth?
  4. Demand more from the Guild to enforce compliance of DGA studio agreements to hire more women (BA Article 15 & FLTTA Article 19).  Get staff members positioned to enforce these agreements.  Hit the studios HARD with fines for being out of compliance.
  5. Petition Michael Apted, Thomas Schlamme, Steven Soderberg and Jonathan Mostow to make employment equity the primary focus of the 2013 DGA negotiations.
  6. Introduce a regular segment into the DGA Quarterly magazine discussing parity for women.  Do the same on the official DGA website.
  7. Celebrate shows that hire women directors.  Start a “Thank You” letter writing campaign to personally thank any network, producer, showrunner, etc, who hires a woman director.8. 2020 is the 100th Year Centennial of Women’s Suffrage.  Start a 50/50 in 2020 Women Directors Campaign.  If women are 50% of the population, why do we make up only 5% or 15% of the directors?9. Create a short film and other media-oriented pieces that illustrate the number of productions that were directed by men versus the number that were directed by women.  Give a visual example of how disproportionate it really is.

    10. Communicate to women in America.  Use our collective power to boycott or reward companies depending on their level of support of women.

    11. Ask your agent for studio/producer “Directors Lists” when they say there are no women on them. Take action on the “Directors Lists.”  Add women to all lists.

    12. Affirmative Action: Set goals and timetables to hire more women directors.

    13. Unify each of the many women’s entertainment organizations/unions to define our shared concerns and objectives.

    14. Contribute $10 each to go towards the hiring of a lawyer (and/or publicist) to support a media/legal action effort to get more women directors working.

    15. Plan protests.  Promote publicity.  Start a campaign to create a paradigm shift.

    16. Encourage all WSC members to join the WSC Facebook forum.

    17. Examine DGA/Studio agreements designed to make studios hire more women: “Good Faith Efforts” aren’t good enough.

    18. Ask the ACLU to get involved.

    19. The problem must be approached legally through the federal government. Pursue the EEOC to investigate mitigation of industry discrimination against women.

    20. Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title 7 is about hiring. Look into legislature and Federal laws to examine why Hollywood appears to see itself as existing outside the jurisdiction of US Civil Rights Equal Employment laws.

    21. Request a DGA Women’s Contact List.

    22. Request DGA statistics on women’s employment be released.

    23. Create a petition from the WSC to request that our issues be the 2013 priority in negotiation

    24. Start a campaign to encourage all female DGA members to show up at the annual meeting and sit together as a block to show a visual representation of our power, unity, and membership.  Try everything, even “march wearing burkas”!

    25. Improve communications between DGA women members.

    26. Initiate a Super-Committee outside of the Guild consisting of women members from all industry women’s organizations and guilds.

    27. Write Manifesto for Women Directors.

    28. Look to the men who have daughters, to help promote our cause.

END OF SUMMIT

________________________________________________

 Note: This March 2, 2013 DGA Summit was created & organized by five DGA members: Dianne Bartlow (chair); Rachel Feldman; Maria Giese; Sandra Milliner; Melanie Wagor.

For more information contact: aegisfilms@earthlink.net

 

DGA Women Directors Foment a Rebellion

72

By Maria Giese

Written by Maria Giese, published by Melissa Silverstein of  “Women And Hollywood” March 6, 2013

This past Saturday, March 2, 2013, became an historic day as the DGA Women’s Steering Committee hosted the DGA Women of Action Summit in LA bringing together 150 female American directors for a day-long event designed to create solutions to the problem of the under-representation and under-employment of women directors in Hollywood. This event was a long time coming and to me, the day was reminiscent, in terms of unity, passion and commitment to the rallies for women’s rights of the 1970’s.

The day included opening remarks by Academy Award-winner and advocate, Geena Davis, who connected the need for the global proliferation of more positive images of women and girls to the immediacy of getting more women behind the camera here in Hollywood. Currently, according to the latest stats from the DGA, women only helm 5% of feature films and 15% of episodic TV shows.

Victoria Hochberg, who introduced Geena Davis, set the moral tone for the day with a beautifully-crafted speech about the history of the DGA Women’s Committee and the need for courage and principles in the face of an industry that often does not honor the civil rights laws of our nation.  Hochberg was one of the six who started the DGA Women’s Committee in 1979.  She reminded us of our history and spoke the difficulties involved in attaining the employment data.  In 1979, women made up one half of one percent of employed DGA directors. Most interestingly, she revealed how the Women’s Committee succeeded in getting the DGA to file a class-action lawsuit against three major studios in 1983, a piece of history not often shared by the Guild.

The first panel, “Employment Equity Matters,” moderated by Martha Coolidge, director of 46 films and the first and only female president of the DGA, included successful feature directors: Debbie Allen, Catherine Hardwicke, Amy Heckerling, Mimi Leder, Nancy Meyers, Robin Swicord, Betty Thomas, and Nia Vardalos. Each of these mega directors agreed that even the view from the top is dismal. Even in success, America’s top women directors do not enjoy the privileges accorded to their male peers.  Robin Swicord called for participants to recognize that the low number of women directors in Hollywood appears to violate U.S. equal employment laws. Even reluctant attendee Betty Thomas was incredibly moved by the event declaring “I’m ashamed! I’m ashamed! This is great!” And a great cheer arose.

PLEASE CONTINUE READING at http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/guest-post-dga-women-directors-foment-a-rebellion