A survey conducted by Writer’s Guild of America West says that sixty-four percent of female writers have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their careers.
Sixty-four percent of female writers have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their careers—nearly six times the number of their male counterparts, with many more men say they’ve witnessed inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
The figures come out of a survey conducted by the Writer’s Guild of America West, that also revealed “a significant amount” of harassing behavior actually occurred in writers’ rooms. The stats sent to union members in an open letter from the Guild’s directors, acknowledges the scale of the problem faced by female writers: “The reality is that this problem is too difficult, too long-standing, and too deeply rooted to yield a quick fix.”
Writer’s should be free to talk as openly as possible, but occasionally it becomes a thinly veiled attempt to make others uncomfortable. Going on to reference a unanimous decision by the California Supreme Court in 2006, where seven justices ruled in favor of Warner Bros. Television Productions’ writer’s anything-goes policy, the WGAW board said the ruling is sometimes “mistakenly used to justify inappropriate behavior in the workplace.”
Women in writing rooms help to thrash out plotlines, point out plotholes and flesh out the nuances of character. Exclusively male writing rooms produce films that are more likely to fail the Bechdel test; where a movie has two women talking to each other about something other than a man.
Despite the likes of Ocean’s 8 and the revamped Ghost Busters, representation of women in films hasn’t been as forward thinking as we all think. According to USC Annenberg School of Journalism’s latest annual report examining diversity in the top 900 films of the year, only 13% of writers were women. No wonder the number of female speaking characters has barely changed in the past decade.