Stephanie McMahon says WWE is making ‘big efforts right now’ to hire more female writers.
McMahon, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer, spoke with a panel of female wrestling journalists from around the world in honor of International Women’s Day. Using the Bayley and Sasha Banks storyline as an example, McMahon was asked by Digital Spy’s Stephanie Chase about any changes in the writing room in the past year that would continue to give talent bigger storylines like that. McMahon said they are always looking to give talent meatier storylines, but they’re also making a big effort to hire more female writers to help that cause as well.
“We’ve also hired—hiring in the writing room is really important because it has previously been a fairly male-dominated writing room, and there are big efforts right now to change that. I don’t have the stats off the top of my head, so I’m not sure how many women we’ve hired since we started, but I know it’s several, including a senior-ranking VP who’s in charge of many different aspects of making sure that the creative and partnerships and all lines of business are working together.”
“There’s been a huge movement, and even though you didn’t ask this question, I’ll just say I’m really proud of this internally as well, I’m the Chief Brand Officer and I’m a woman, Kristina Salen, who is our Chief Financial Officer, Susan Levison is in charge of all of WWE Studios, Sarah Cummins, who is in charge of all of our consumer products groups, and then we have Melody Yam, who does Global Strategy for WWE. So, there’s a group of really successful accomplished women on the backside of WWE, including what we present on-screen.”
McMahon made similar remarks in August, claiming that hiring more women is a priority for WWE.
“We do not have enough female writers in the writers room, we are actively working on that. There is a dedicated focus to how we tell our women’s storylines in the show,” said McMahon, “but we can always be better.”
It’s unclear if any female writers have been hired on in recent months, but one of them recently departed the company. According to a report from Ringside News, Andrea Listenberger left the company for a second time. Listenberger was furloughed in April and returned to WWE; the report could not confirm if she quit or was forced out. On a related note, WWE has hired Mike Heller, a former head writer on VH1 and MTV, as lead writer.
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