The 2017 Emmy nominees list was released today and, despite the fact that female TV creators and showrunners made a number of breakthroughs this year, they're conspicuously absent from the list. We weren't exactly clamouring for further proof that the gender gap persists in Hollywood, but we received it anyway.
Out of the 14 TV series nominated for best comedy and best drama, not one has a solo female creator or showrunner. While it's true that women are underrepresented in the directing and writing fields, a closer look at the nominees and snubs proves that's not an excuse.
Jill Soloway’s Amazon dramedy Transparent was snubbed for the first time since it premiered in 2014. Meanwhile, female-led newcomer shows Queen Sugar, One Day at a Time, Insecure, and I Love Dick were all met with rave reviews but failed to garner nominations in any major categories.
Furthermore, not a single woman was nominated for writing or directing a limited series. For example, Big Little Lies (which is based on the book by Liane Moriarty) received a number of well-deserved nominations, but it was developed for the screen by writer David E. Kelley and director Jean-Marc Vallée. Although Kelley and Vallée did an excellent job on the female-focused show, it's still frustrating that women didn't helm the show.
Similarly, The Handmaid's Tale is based on a book written by a woman, but the showrunner is a man.
When you expand the definition of gender diversity to include series where women are co-creators or showrunners, the number of nominees jumps by a whopping two shows, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Robert Carlock and Tina Fey) and Westworld (Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan).
Ava DuVernay was showered with industry praise when she staffed Queen Sugar with only female directors, but none of those women received nominations for their work on the critically acclaimed series.
There were a few bright spots: DuVernay received a directing nomination for 13th, and Samantha Bee finally received her richly deserved nominations in the best talk show and talk show-hosting categories. It's also encouraging that racial diversity improved, most notably in the best comedy category, where Atlanta, Black-ish, and Master of None all received nominations.
But overall, the nominee list is a sobering reminder that the TV Academy and the TV industry needs to make some major improvements when it comes to diversity.