Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Writers Lab

Meryl Streep, together with New York Women in Film and Television and other female filmmakers, helped fund a screenwriting lab for female writers over 40 to bring in more diverse writers and more female roles on screen (via). As figures clearly show, age discrimination in Hollywood (and not only there) is worse for women and things do not seem to get better.

"The Writers Lab is dedicated to developing narrative feature screenplays written by women over the age of 40. We feel it is critical to nurture the voices of mature women that have not been heard and are in danger of being lost entirely. We look forward to a new landscape where the female narrative is in equal proportion to the male narrative, sharing our stories to strengthen our ties to one another and empower younger generations." The Writers Lab
During the 2013-14 TV season, women composed 29% of employed TV writers, a decline from 30.5% in the 2011-12 season. Of the top 250 US-films, only 10% are female screenwriters. When women are not represented behind the scene, they are not represented on screen, or - if they are - often in limited stereotypical ways. Women over 40, for instance, are almost non-existent or "often stale stereotypes". According to director and casting director Risa Bramon Garcia, "The problem happens when writers and producers don't see women as being sexual after 40 - by sexual I mean complex human beings who are attractive and appealing, vital and powerful, in their 40s and 50s and beyond." (via).


According to a study conducted by the Writers Guild of America, West, "(w)omen and minorites have actually lost ground as compared to their white male counterparts". Minority writers saw a 7% decline, employment of female writers fell 5%. Concerning writers in general, no matter which gender, the study came to the conclusion:
“Although writers over 40 continued to claim a majority of all staff writer positions, data from the most recent TV season show that their employment prospects drop dramatically after age 50. Such stark statistics continue to illustrate that the entertainment industry remains a glaringly unlevel playing field.” (via)
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photographs of Meryl Streep via and via and via


  1. Special thanks for posting this!

    1. I'm pretty sure projects like this can change the narrative. I do hope they will be part of mainstream one day. Thanks, Erin!