Building on the report that the US Writer's Guild recently released about the lack of momentum in increading women writers on US based TV shows, there has been a bit of a brouhaha over the lack of women writers on the very popular sci-fi show Dr. Who. Reports say that the show has not had a single female writer on the staff since 2008. They got a new female executive producer who was going to remedy the situation, but she left before getting it done. And only one woman has written for the show since this version started airing in 2005.
The Guardian points out that this is a common problem for sci-fi fantasy UK based shows. Other shows with little or no female writers include: Merlin which only had 4 out of 65 episodes (it was recently cancelled) written by women; Wizards & Aliens - no women writers; and most disturbingly, even The Sarah Jane Adventures which has an older female lead has no female writers.
Dr. Who producer Marcus Wilson responded to the criticism: "Due to schedules and other projects, both male and female writers whom we have wanted to join the team simply haven't been able to," he said. "For us it's about who can write good Doctor Who stories, regardless of gender."
While it is not always about gender, especially in genre work, having a diverse writers room makes everyone better. It's not ok in 2013 to say you are trying to hire women but it just didon't work out. Try harder. Find them. They are there. Do better. No one is saying that men can't write female characters and vice versa, but it makes all writers better to have others with different experiences as part of the process.
Playwright Stella Duffy discussed the issue on her blog:
And when I see that there are no women writers or directors (that's 16 jobs, not one of them taken by a woman) I am reminded we are nowhere near as equal as we'd like to think we are, nowhere near as 'modern', that a character who cares about the human race above all, is being written and directed in his current incarnation by half of that race.
Yes, I know TV is sexist to its bones (its naked women bones), but still, two hearts, and neither of them female? Shame.
Why Doctor Who needs more female writers (The Guardian)
Dr Who and the Missing Women (Stella Duffy)