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The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) is to dig deeper into a decline in gender equality in senior TV roles and the continued underrepresentation of disabled people in the industry in the wake of the findings of its latest Diamond report.

The study revealed that 45.4% of people in senior roles in 2021-22 were female, down from 50.4% in 2018-19, with the sharpest fall occurring during the Covid-19 pandemic and the first lockdown in early 2020.

The CDN plans to investigate further to see if more women than men took time out to care for family at home during the pandemic and if a sizeable proportion of them have yet to return to work.

Of eight senior roles studied, women dominated in just two: commissioning editors (61.3%) and heads of production (86.1%). They are least represented among directors (25.3%).

Women occupied more than half of non-senior roles across all genres studies. In senior roles, this dipped to 35.6% for children’s content and 45.1% for drama; they were best represented in factual (52.7%) and lifestyle programming (53.2%)


While the proportion of off-screen contributions made by disabled people has grown slightly - from 5.2% in 2018-19 to 6.5% in 2021-22 – TV still falls a long way below the 18% population average.

Disabled people account for 4.7% of senior roles, barely above the 4.5% figure reported in 2018-19, while they have grown their share of non-senior roles from 5.6% to 7.4% in that time.

Disability contributions were most prominent in current affairs (8.1%) and factual entertainment (7.3%) and least prominent in comedy (6%) and drama (6.5%).

Black, Asian and minority ethnic

A similar picture emerged among black. Asian and minority ethnic people in senior roles.

They represented 13.9% of non-senior roles, up from 12.3% in the previous report and now reflecting the UK population estimate of 13%.

Only in children’s (12.8%), lifestyle (11.1%) and comedy (10.9%) did they fall below the national average.

However, among senior roles, this dipped to 12.2%. While they were overrepresented among commissioning editors (27.6% - more than twice the population estimate - and fairly represented among producer/directors (14.9%), they were underrepresented in all other senior roles, including heads of production (7.4%) and series producers (5.5%).

The Diamond report also highlights that this demographic is skewed towards black people, particularly in the wake of the George Floyd murder and efforts to address inequality, reflecting the Black Lives Matter movement.

By contrast, South Asians accounted for just 2.4% of off-screen contributions, despite making up at least 4.9% of the population.


The CDN studied 1.1m contributions to content commissioned by the PSBs, Sky and, for the first time, UKTV, broadcast between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022.

UKTV had the highest proportion of off-screen disabled contributors (8.8%), while Sky was the least representative (4.9%).

Sky however led the way with off-screen BAME representation (18.8%), and within that, with South Asians (3.6%). ITV led the way with black contributions (7%).

CDN executive director Deborah Williams said: “It’s clear that despite the initiatives that our members and the wider industry have put in place, there still remains a lot of work to be done to tackle systemic inequality across the sector.  

“As indicated in the findings of this report, there is potential for a deeper dive into the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown and the possible contribution it played to the limited progress we are seeing across several groups including women and disabled people in senior roles and in many off-screen roles.” 

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