Mothers working in Unscripted – a survey

Useful and interesting piece of research here. If you fit the bill, it would be great if you could take part.

On the eve of UK schools reopening after a third national lockdown, and after more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Nottingham are launching a major academic research project into the impact of the pandemic on mothers working in unscripted television.

The research project Locked Down and Locked Out? The Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mothers working in the UK Television Industry was proposed by Share My Telly Job Co-Director Natalie Grant, who said: 

“It has long been known that the ‘motherhood penalty’ is very real and painfully prevalent in the TV industry. Recent research has indicated that across all industries, mums have suffered exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and been disproportionately affected by job losses, the burden of home-schooling, caring for sick and elderly relatives and a lack of childcare. This research will be really important in highlighting exactly how mothers in unscripted television have been impacted and what the industry could and should be doing to support them better.”

The research is being led by the Institute for Screen Industries Research at The University of Nottingham, in partnership with SMTJ and the Telly Mums Network, and is being supported by Bectu. Leading on the research is Professor Helen Kennedy who said:

“The pandemic has revealed longstanding weaknesses in the way we as a society organise childcare and employment, and this is particularly true in industries like TV where work cultures, practices and attitudes place many barriers to equal participation for mothers. This research presents a unique opportunity to understand how women’s caring responsibilities intersect with demographic, spatial and structural inequalities in order to inform better policy and practice responses towards a more equitable post- COVID future.”

Cheryl Woodcock, founder of Telly Mums Network said:

“Since Telly Mums Network launched in April 2019, the message has been loud and clear from our community: telly mums need support. Combining a career in television with motherhood has always presented enormous challenges but the additional pressures of the past year have left many women feeling that it is entirely untenable. This research is so important, and the industry must take note of what is happening to a really valuable section of our workforce, and act to avoid further talent drain.”

Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs said:

“Existing research tells us that working mothers encounter systemic disadvantages in terms of pay, perceived competence and benefits, and that in the TV industry there exists a disproportionate rate of exit for women over 35. We also know from last year’s FTVC report that the industry was already in the midst of a mental health crisis prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research will be crucial in understanding how mothers in the industry have been affected over the last 12 months and Bectu are very pleased to be supporting this vital work.”

To participate in the survey please follow this link.

The survey is open to all mothers working in unscripted television and a full report will be published later this year.