Women Take Lead in Streaming

(Above: Aidy Bryant in ‘Shrill.’ Source: Hulu)

Hollywood has been notoriously slow to put women in leading roles, both in front of and behind the camera. This year, for example, women received only 30% of the Academy Awards’ non-acting nominations.

But that seems to be changing in the streaming industry — and it’s resulting in more diverse, high-quality programming.

Soda, a Seattle-based media company, recently examined how major streaming services are providing women with opportunities to flourish — both above and below the line. (You can read more about Soda’s research on their website.)

Hulu Takes the Crown

The three major streamers — Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon — feature lead female protagonists in a lot of their original content. Hulu is tops at 68%, with Netflix at around 65% and Amazon at 45%. What’s more, according to Business Insider, Hulu’s women-led originals are receiving critical acclaim, besting Netflix and Amazon in the Rotten Tomato ratings. Such Hulu shows include:

The Act. This Golden Globe-winning series stars Joey King as Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a young woman trying to break free to of her overprotective mother Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette).

Pen15. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle created and wrote this Emmy-nominated series about two 13-year-old girls coping with puberty in the year 2000.

Shrill. Starring SNL’s Aidy Bryant, this show about a female journalist navigating life addresses body positivity with a sense of humor.

Hulu Series Featuring Leading Women

Behind the Scenes

The percentage of women behind the camera, specifically producers and directors, has not significantly increased for Hollywood productions. Still, there are notable exceptions in the streaming industry. Netflix has the highest number of female producers (about 45%), while Hulu wins for most female directors at 48%. Prominent examples include:

Tara Hermann. She is the producer of Orange is the New Black on Netflix, with four Emmy awards and over 20 nominations.

Chloe Thomas. Thomas is the director of the show Harlots, with three seasons on Hulu.

Tiny Fey. The acclaimed comedian has produced four successful seasons of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Women producers and directors

Although streaming services are providing women with an increasing number of opportunities, there is still room for improvement. Let’s support these female-driven productions.

About Rola Elkhatib

Rola Elkhatib is a content marketing intern at Siege Media. She also attends the University of Texas, majoring in Public Relations and double minoring in Business and Arabic.

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