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TV's stark gender imbalance

21 September 2010

There are some pretty sobering stats to be found in a new report, Women in the Creative Media Industries, from Skillset.

It’s hardly news that there’s a “stark gender imbalance” in the creative industries, according to the report. TV’s unforgiving freelance contract culture has long put working mothers at a disadvantage compared to men and women without children.

Yet the findings of the report still surprise. Here are just a few of them.

- TV has the greatest disparity in average earnings in the creative industries between men (£39,000) and women (£32,500). And while three-quarters (75 percent) of men working in the industry are aged 35 and over, this is true of just over half (52 per cent) of women.

- 35% of men in the industry have dependent children living with them but only 23% of women, suggesting that many women leave the industry as a consequence of starting a family.

- The proportion of women in the audiovisual industries dropped from 38 per cent to 27 per cent between 2006 and 2009.

- 51% of women are aged 35 or over compared with 64% of men. Even adjusting for increased levels of female new entrants in recent years, women have been leaving the industry before or during middle age.

The report can be read in full at the following link:

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting a couple of new initiatives to try to redress the gender imbalance in creative industries.

Women in Film and Television are running a new mentoring scheme which will pair up 16 mid-career women in the TV and film business with experienced mentors. The scheme is open for applicants until 1st October and it’s being managed by the impressive Nicola Lees, who produced Televisual’s Intelligent Factual Festival this year and who edits

You can find details at the following link:

Secondly, mentoring and networking consultant Annmarie Dixon-Barrow will also run a series of Skillset-funded initiatives to connect women from the television industry with industry leaders from throughout the UK. This includes the WOMEN mentoring programme that will pair 25 women with industry leaders from around the world via a virtual network. Recruitment will begin on 1 October, with the programme starting in November.

Skillset has also secured funding for a limited number of training bursaries of up to £600 via the government's Women and Work scheme.

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