The League of Professional Theatre Women has released the findings from its third Women Count: Women Hired Off-Broadway, which covers seven Off-Broadway seasons from 2010 to 2017. The mission of the seven-year report is to assess questions of gender parity in the hiring practices of off-stage roles, including playwrights, directors, and other members of the creative team.
The latest Women Count, authored by Martha Wade Steketee with Judith Binus, covers findings from 23 producing companies and nearly 700 productions. Included in the findings were a number of spikes in the hiring of women in areas traditionally dominated by men. The percentage of lighting designers who are women, for example, more than doubled since 2012–2013, going from 8% to 21% in 2016–2017.
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Last season also showed the highest number of women playwrights represented since the launch of the report. Despite season lows of 29% in 2013–2014 and 2015–2016, the 2016–2017 findings saw a season high of 37% of women playwrights represented in the theatres’ programming. Seven of the 23 theatres produced 50% or more women playwrights in their 2016–2017 season: Keen Company, MCC, MTC, NYTW, Second Stage, Signature Theater, and WP Theater.
The percentage of women directors working Off-Broadway did not go up from the previous year, remaining at 38%. The report shows a 40% peak in the percentage of women directors represented in the 2014–2015 seasons, and a 24% low in 2011–2012. Nine of the theatres covered hired 50% or more women directors in their 2016–2017 season: LAByrinth, LCT, MCC, MTC, New Group, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theater, Vineyard Theatre, and WP Theater.
The areas where women continue to dominate are production stage managers, stage managers, and assistant stage managers, as well as costume designers. Over the seven-year period, they make up 70% of production stage managers, stage managers, and assistant stage managers.
Women set designers represent generally a third or less of all set designers working Off-Broadway throughout the last seven years, ranging from a low of 21% in 2015–2016 to a high of 35% in 2012–2013. The 2016–2017 season saw 34% of set designers hired who were women—a significant increase from the previous year.
Across the board from 2010 to 2017, areas where women remain under 20% include lighting designers (14%), sound designers (18%), composers (13%), and conductors and music directors (15%).
LPTW has been publishing the Women Count since 2014. For the full results from the study, including all of the theatres, as well as additional information and findings, visit Theatrewomen.org/women-count/.