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On Broadway, gender inequality touches every stage of the industry

On Broadway, gender inequality touches every stage of the industry
[Photo: Evan Kirby/Unsplash]

Anyone who watches the Tony Awards every year will notice the dearth of women nominees in nonperformer categories, especially writing and directing. Last year, Rebecca Taichman became only the sixth woman to win a Tony for best direction of a play. It’s a dismal track record, even if it’s slightly better than what we see at the Oscars, where Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman named best director in a nine-decade history of doling out statuettes.

Now a new study from Broadway producer Ken Davenport underscores the reach of the disparity. Over the last five years, only 28% of commercial Broadway plays or musicals had women lead producers. The lack of women in this key decision-making role matters because, according to a wide range of research, the way to attack gender disparity in any industry is to have more women in positions of leadership.

‘[I]f there were more women Lead Producing shows, there would, I’d bet, be more women directors, more women writers and more female stories on Broadway,” Davenport wrote in a blog post yesterday.

To come up with the statistic, Davenport’s research team, led by associate producer Valerie Novakoff, culled through five years’ worth of theatrical credits on IBDB, the industry’s online portal. While the disparity among lead producers is stark, Broadway fares better than, say, the wider world of startups. A recent report from Pitchbook revealed that only 2% of venture capital raised in 2017 went to women-led companies.

Check out the full post here.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the percentage cited in the study. It’s 28%, not 38%. 

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