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Female writers are pigeonholed and considered a bigger risk than men – Writers’ Guild

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Female writers are considered “inherently more risky” by commissioners and are pigeonholed into focusing on women’s stories, the Writers’ Guild has claimed.

WGGB assistant general secretary Lesley Gannon said the organisation is “sick to the teeth” of this, and said men are deemed to be “universal writers”, where women are not.

Gannon was representing the WGGB at a conference exploring gender equality in television from forum organiser Westminster Insight, which took place in London on April 25.

She said: “The big thing we are sick to the teeth of hearing, quite frankly, is that often the male writers tend to get universal stories, they are ‘universal writers’, and women get to write women’s stories.

“We increasingly get feedback [from commissioners saying] ‘That’s a really great script but we’ve already got a woman’s story this season.”

Gannon added that the male experience is culturally “seen as the main perspective” on screen and stage, while “everything else is special interest”.

“If it’s written by a black man, it’s [perceived as] a black play, but if it’s written by a white man, it’s a play. If it’s by a woman, it’s a woman’s play,” she said.

Female writers responsible for just 14% of primetime TV dramas – report [1]