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Fewer than one in four factual directors receiving credits on UK shows were women in 2022, down from one in three two years previously.

Assessing more than 25,000 factual credits from August 2021 to July 2022, We Are Doc Women found that women directed 24% of factual TV – despite winning 48% of factual awards across the Baftas, Griersons and Broadcast Awards.

We Are Doc Women launched a 50/50 pledge in October last year to compel broadcasters and indies to ensure that women are directing half of their factual output. Among the 70 production companies and three broadcasters that have signed this pledge to date, female directors have made 47% of their shows.

The group said that while that figure is “encouraging”, it is “disappointing” that women had just 6% of series director credits and 26% of director credits in the period. In both cases, this is down on 2019-2020 figures of 9% and 28% respectively.

The shift was most pronounced among producer/directors, with women accounting for 27%, down from 33%.

Women continue to dominate among producers, accounting for 72%, up from 68% previously, as well as among assistant producers (76% v 77%) and researchers (68% v 65%).

We Are Doc Women highlighted that women are losing out financially, with directors/senior directors earning an average of £1,990 a week – 59% more than the £1,250 typically paid to a producer.

“While across the industry there is immense financial pressure and difficulty at the moment, we hope diversity and inclusion will remain a priority,” said We Are Doc Women. “We wouldn’t want to lose any more progress in gender equality in directing.”

We Are Doc Women’s pledge has been signed by BBC Documentaries, three Channel 4 divisions – current affairs, documentaries and specialist factual – and Prime Video. Indie signatories include Wall to Wall, Mindhouse, Films of Record, Wonderhood Studios, The Garden and Blast! Films.

Notable female director nominees for the 2023 Griersons, which are awarded next week, include Kim Hopkins, who helmed BBC Storyville feature A Bunch of Amateurs, Sophie Oliver for Frank Films’ Channel 4 doc A Paedophile in my Family: Surviving Dad, and Alison Millar, director of C4’s Lyra.

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