WMC Reports

Women's Media Center Investigation: 2016 Review of gender and EMMY primetime nominations


Women represent only 25 percent of the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations in writing, directing, editing, and producing — unchanged from last year, according to a Women’s Media Center analysis.

Of the 43 writing, directing, editing, and producing categories, 328 of the nominees are women and 993 are men. Although the Emmys cover many different jobs related to television programs, these categories tend to have the most influence on what is depicted on the small screen.

When factoring in all 88 non-acting categories for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards — to be broadcast on Sunday — women do only slightly better: 28 percent of the nominations, with men representing 72 percent. No women were nominated in 14 categories, mainly in cinematography, stunt coordination, music composition or di- rection, and sound mixing. Women are strongly represented in production design, casting, costume, hairstyling and documentary features.

“Our Women’s Media Center investi- gation shows there is a gender gap in Emmy nominations. Only 25 percent — one in four of all nominations — go to women in key, decision-making roles,” said Women’s Media Center Presi- dent Julie Burton. “Most distressing is the lack of progress from year to year. There is a clear connection between the broadcast, network and cable pro- grams that hire mostly male creators and the industry-wide gender divide. When there are few jobs for women, it is easy to see why so few women in non-acting categories are recognized for their excellence — if you cannot get through the door, you cannot be cele- brated with Emmy nominations and honors. When will broadcast, network, and cable executives examine their hiring practices to ensure that women — especially in these influential roles — are at the table?”

Of the four major behind-the-scenes roles, the percentage of women is up in writing, at 23 percent versus 19 percent, and editing, at 21 percent versus 20 percent, over last year, but slightly down in the directing and producing categories.

Pat Mitchell, Chair, WMC Board of Directors, added: “Clearly, the number of nomi- nees for Emmys is not representative of the impact or the accomplishments of wom- en writers, directors, producers, editors whose overall representation in all those categories is still far from equal to their talents or the opportunities, facts that the Women’s Media Center’s research so clearly indicates.”

Overall Total

Women: (577) 28%  Men: (1,486) 72%

Wmc Reports Emmys 2016 Overall Total Pie Chart
WMC: 2016 Review of gender and EMMY primetime nominations

Press Release: Women's Media Center Investigation: 2016 Review of Gender & Emmy Primetime Nominations, at a Glance

Infographic: Women's Media Center Investigation: 2016 Review of gender & EMMY primetime nominations

More articles by Category: Media
More articles by Tag: Television, Sexism
Sign up for our Newsletter

Learn more about topics like these by signing up for Women’s Media Center’s newsletter.