[as posted in the Counting Together initiative website “spotlight” section January 27, 2023.]

The Women Count report series, authored by Martha Wade Steketee with Judith Binus, released its sixth report in May 2022.

The Women Count project collects and publishes analyses of New York City Off Broadway production credits to assess gender parity in theater hiring decisions. The goal of the report series is to change the conversation from anecdotes to action plans to support advocacy efforts on behalf of women and nonbinary playwrights, performers, and off-stage theater workers.

Women Count VI covers 24 companies, two pandemic-influenced seasons 2019/20 and 2021/22 and 152 productions, skipping over the lost 2020/21 season. The report series provides summary information by season, with most tables providing company-by-company detail focusing on gender hiring breakdowns in multiple roles. Beginning with Women Count VI, the project team reports female, nonbinary, and male credit counts as they can determine them. The team searches published credits and biographies for gender pronouns and identification for the creatives associated with the productions tracked.

Some study highlights:

New plays among study theater companies comprised 75% in 2019/20 and 82% in 2021/22. At least three-quarters of the plays produced by study theater companies were world premieres or within five years of their original production and the just completed season, a higher percentage of new plays than seen in prior seasons. A study “season” follows the usual New York awards season definition of May 1 through the following April 30. Project researchers assign a production to a study season based on production opening date.

Women or nonbinary playwrights (one in each study year) hovered around parity among plays produced – 43% in 2019/20 and nearly 60% in 2021/22.
Women director credits for the two study seasons (no nonbinary playwrights were among the study productions) grew from 44% in 2019/20 to 54% in 2021/22.

Set designer credits for women or nonbinary designers grew from 38% in 2019/20 to 45% in 2021/22.

Lighting designers among study productions are increasingly female, with no nonbinary designers in the two study years, increasing from 38% lighting credits for women in 2019/20 to 58% lighting credits for women in 2021/22.

Production stage managers were just over 60% female or nonbinary in 2019/20 and 2021/22, representing a decrease in non-male stage manager credits from prior seasons. Stage managers and assistant stage managers hovered around 70% female or nonbinary, 72% in 2019/20 and 67% in 2021/22, reflecting national trends.

For more information, see the 2022 report press release and the report series page

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