Women in Television Activity (Grades 5-12)

Teacher: On one tape, record just the closing credits from some of the students' favorite TV shows. On another tape, record the credits from older TV shows (from the 1950's, 60's, or 70's which are re-run regularly on cable stations).

Give students a blank chart form to break down the number of males and females represented in the following categories:

  • producer
  • assistant producer
  • executive producer
  • director
  • assistant director
  • writer
  • makeup
  • hair

Divide students into groups. Assign each group to one of the above categories. Playback both tapes. Ask students to count the number of male and female producers, directors, etc. for the older TV shows and total their results. Repeat the process for the current credits.

Students should compare the two charts (older shows vs. current favorites).

Using the information from their charts, students discuss how opportunities for women have increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the high power, high pay jobs such as director. Do the same for the other categories.

Ask students to make predictions about future trends for women in the TV medium.

Activity developed by Ron Adams, Broad Meadows Middle School, Quincy, MA.

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