What are the occupations held by women within drama television shows presented on ABC’s website and do they accurately represent the reality of the working world?


Through research into women’s representation in television it became apparent that there is significant data relating to the type of work that women are typically portrayed as doing.  It was also apparent that much research has been conducted investigating the types of roles women have in the actual working world. However, seemingly little work has been done to investigate the connection between television portrayal and reality when it comes to this topic, thus we decided the bridge this gap and investigate the accuracy of television in this aspect.  


Our investigation focuses specifically on ABC because it is at the forefront of modern television.  Roseanne, ABC’s most popular show during the 2017-18 season, reached over thirteen million viewers. This is the second most watched scripted show of all networks, edging even most prime-time football programs.  Given its monstrous audience and epidemic influence, we saw it necessary to examine the veracity of depicted character roles. This will hold ABC accountable as a network and ensure fairness in representation. Many viewers of popular television shows falsely interpret what’s presented by the network as fact and use it to shape future opinions.


For why research into this topic maters, over the past 50 years television has become a huge form of media that both reflects and impacts reality.  The content of a television show can alter one’s mindset, create stereotypes, and lead to spreading of misinformation. This is why it is important to compare television content with actuality, so that we may not build assumptions on false ideas.  When it comes to the topic at hand, gender representation in various occupations, understanding the gap between television and reality is important because a mass misunderstanding could lead to a negative impact on the working world. For example, if television shows display all female characters as having interpersonal jobs, such as teaching and real estate agents, then this may affect the mindset of young women watching the shows.  Then there would be a lopsidedness to the working world with a surplus of women limiting themselves to interpersonal jobs rather than exploring their true passions and talents. And with the rapid pace in which children assess information and develop cognitive standards, the attitudes and experiences witnessed on TV can quickly spawn stereotypes in the minds of children and teens which severely affects the future of the working world.  

“ABC 2017-18 Season Ratings.” TV Series Finale, 24 Sept. 2018, tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/abc-2017-18-season-ratings/. Accessed 28 Sep. 2018.


Moraes, Lisa de, and Patrick Hipes. “2017-18 TV Series Ratings Rankings: NFL Football, ‘Big Bang’ Top Charts.” Deadline, 23 May 2018, deadline.com/2018/05/2017-2018-tv-series-ratings-rankings-full-list-of-shows-1202395851/. Accessed 28 Sep. 2018.