In 2015, the Dramatists Guild and The Lilly Awards published The Count, a study of works produced in the United States over three theatre seasons from 2011 to 2014. They found that 22% of the theatre productions surveyed were written by women. A mere 3.4% were written by American women of color.
The statistics for women directors are similarly dismal. The New York State Council on the Arts’ Report on the Status of Women noted that “According to the 2000-01 season preview in American Theatre magazine, among the 1,900 Theatre Communications Group member theatre productions, 23% of the productions were directed by women and 20% had a woman on the writing team”, but that the “season of 2001-02 as listed in American Theatre magazine actually shows a decline [in the percentage of plays produced by women], with directors at 16% and playwright representation at 17%.”
Emily Glassberg Sands reported in her 2009 Princeton thesis, “Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender,” “in the 2008/2009 New York Broadway season as it has been put forth, the percentage of plays written by women will amount to only 12.6% according to theaters‘ announcements. This same figure one century ago, for the 1908/1909 New York season, was 12.8% according to the Internet Broadway Database.”
These percentages are eerily similar to those for women as corporate officers of Fortune 500 companies (16%), university presidents (23%), newspaper publishers (18%), and members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate (17%), as reported in The White House Project’s 2009 Report Benchmarking Women’s Leadership.
Theatre Unbound company members are available to speak about changing roles for women on stage and off.