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WGGB calls for ‘complete reset’ following new diversity report

A new report from Creative Diversity Network, released today (23 November 2023) highlights the serious lack of progress being made by broadcasters to engage diverse creatives.

Writers, Directors and Producer Directors: A six-year overview of Diamond data 2016/17 to 2021/22 revealed that

  • In 2021/22 only 32.4% of TV shows were written by women, down from 42.8% in 2016/17
  • 7.6% of TV shows were written by disabled writers, far behind the UK workforce figure of 17%
  • There are now fewer shows being written by writers over 50 – down from 42.8% in 2016/17 to 21.4% in 2021/22
  • The proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers being engaged increased to a high of 15.6% in 2020/21, possibly as a result of broadcasters’ efforts to respond to the Black Lives Matters movement. However, the proportion has since fallen to 14% in 2021/22. The proportion of shows written by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers have remained considerably lower (8.7%)

WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said:

“This report has made clear what we have long suspected, that multiple schemes and initiatives are failing to create real systemic change in the industry. It has been over five years since we released Equality Writes, showing that women writers faced a glass ceiling with no progress being made to increase their representation. This report now shows that for women writers the situation is getting worse, not better and for other underrepresented groups progress is far too slow. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.

We need a complete reset and are calling for an independent inquiry to investigate systemic issues of racism, sexism, ableism and all forms of discrimination that exist within the industry.”

WGGB Equality and Diversity Co-Chair Sumerah Srivastav said: “This report tells us what we hear all too often from other members, that writers often end up on schemes, but these rarely turn into real work opportunities. If we want to see representation increase, we need broadcasters, producers and commissioners to actually engage diverse talent. No more excuses – the talent is out there, there just needs to be the will to use it.”