Female Screenwriters: Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Stats

The No-Nonsense Advice for Female Screenwriters in Hollywood Today

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by Script Reader Pro in Screenwriter Career
June 22, 2015 14 comments

Female Screenwriters: Don’t Worry About Stats – Here’s How to Break In

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately about the WGA statistics released in April. They stated that female screenwriters make up only 15 percent of employed WGA writers. A drop from 17 percent in 2009. Female screenwriters’ wages also fell to 77 cents on the dollar, from 82 cents in 2009.

This lack of employment of female screenwriters has sparked much online fervor. Even inciting Meryl Streep to fund a mentorship program to support women screenwriters over the age of 40.

Women directors have also been feeling the pain. The ACLU reported in May that fewer female directors are being hired now than twenty years ago. But the question is, how much of this supposed regression is down to sexism? And how much is due to other factors?

What Female Screenwriters Should Do Instead of Worry: Step #1

Firstly, take a look around Hollywood and see that there are successful female screenwriters and other industry leaders everywhere:

♦  Diablo Cody, Greta Gerwig, Nicole Holofcener, Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay and Gillian Flynn, etc. are some of the best screenwriters in Hollywood.

♦  Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer and Amy Poehler, etc. are some of the most successful comedians around.

♦  Kelly Fremon Craig, Greta Gerwig, Brit Marling, Lynn Shelton, Kelly Reichardt, Debra Granik and Miranda July, etc. are some of the finest indie filmmakers in the business.

♦  Mara Brock Akil, Michelle Ashford, Shonda Rhimes, Marti Noxon, Courtney Kemp and Michelle King, etc. are some of the most powerful showrunners in TV.

♦  The success of female screenwriters such as Nicole Perlman with Guardians of the Galaxy, and Katie Dippold with The Heat, shows that women can write action at a blockbuster level.

♦  The source material for some of the biggest tent-pole franchises in recent history—The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey—etc. were all written by women.

What Female Screenwriters Should Do Instead of Panic: Step #2

Secondly, ignore the statistics and Hollywood’s supposed sexism and just write.

Hollywood may be thought of as a “boys’ club” by many female screenwriters just starting out, but despite the statistics, if you’re a female screenwriter who knows how to write, is willing to put her work out into the world and compete with the best, you will succeed.

Check out the related posts below on how to break in as a screenwriter and make your mark.


Are you a female screenwriter put off by all the statistics about how hard it is for women in Hollywood? What’s your strategy to break in? Let us know in the comments below.

female screenwriters

Love This Post? Read More on Female Screenwriters and on How to Start a Career as a Screenwriter…

How to Become a Screenwriter: The Ultimate Guide

How to Write a Screenplay for a Movie: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write for TV: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Career

[© Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons / Pexels]

  1. Robin says:

    Thank you for the encouraging post! It’s also good to remember that Guillermo del Toro’s “overnight” success took forty years.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Robin – yes that’s a great example of screenwriting being a longhaul game, definitely. Cheers!

  2. Joyce says:

    Continued: I added a story to my Pilot and put some situations in that didn’t happen yet and maybe never will, some of which I hoped would happen when the “thing” is found and removed…Names and names of places were changed for obvious reasons..

  3. Eileen Wilson says:

    Over 40 and not dead yet. Why should the blokes get all the fun writing? Female writers are equally as good as their masculine counterparts but have to encourage each other and keep plugging. We all have voice and perspective, just some of us have more ironing! (Don’t get me started).

    1. Joyce says:

      I won’t tell how old I am but I started working on my screenplay over 10 years ago. It is based on a true story of what happened to me. I was so sure a female producer would see it and help me bring it to the world, understanding what some people will do for a buck, by causing me pain. I can’t prove it just yet, as it is still happening to me (30 years now) but if my TV movie gets produced, I should make the kind of money needed to trace what I know was put into my body at some point in time. I paid a small sum to have the first 10 pages of my script read but actually, the entire 34 pages need to be read as it was written as the events happened..It is written as a Pilot for TV. There is too much material, probably over 3 hours, to make it into a movie and it is ongoing..

      1. Joyce says:

        Continued: I added a story to my Pilot and put some situations in that didn’t happen yet and maybe never will, some of which I hoped would happen when the “thing” is found and removed…Names and names of places were changed for obvious reasons..

  4. Mary Margaret O’Donnell says:

    I’m 48, new to the Screenplay world. I’m determined to finish by 12/31. I’m working the Script Reader Course, working a full time job and writing. I’ve been extremely inspired this year. Now to get this supernatural thriller out of my head on paper, wish me luck!!!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s great, Mary. We’re planning on writing a big blog post on breaking into the industry over 35 soon.

  5. AMD says:


    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, AMD!

  6. monique gramby says:

    Coupled with this is the increasing flow of diverse television shows and features. Also female-driven films are opening in the top 10 which hasn’t been the case before. Proving that people want to see more films and television shows from a female perspective. But we still have a ways to go. But like you stated, we have to keep pushing forward. We need to continue to support each other and focus on what will be accomplished. This nut will be cracked. Thank you for the rally!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Well said Monique.

  7. Marguerite Fair says:

    Thank you for the inspirational information! I am very pro-active in promoting my projects and always encourage other women to do the same. Onward and upward ladies’!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sounds good, thanks for the comment, Marguerite.

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