Gender Matters

Posted Monday 21 Dec 2015

No we aren't talking about frivilous things like Father Xmas being a woman (though if he was he would organise this crazy time of year better, wouldn't he???)

Instead we have the launch of a major initiative in Australia aimed at getting some gender equality across the screen industry.

On Monday 7 December 2015, Screen Australia announced a five point, $5 million plan over three years for Gender Matters, a suite of initiatives that address the gender imbalance within the Australian screen industry.

Issues of gender bias have been approached in various ways by Screen Australia, our predecessor agencies, state agencies and industry guilds over the years. Despite this, the level of women's participation in this industry continues to track along at the low percentages we saw in the 1970s. And a lot of us are asking why.

Analysis of  Screen Australia figures back in May shows that the imbalance is most notable in traditional film, with women accounting for 32% of producers, 23% of writers and only 16% of directors. Our film production funding is provided to producers, writers and directors in direct proportion to applications received, suggesting that initiatives to stimulate projects led by women is key in addressing this issue front on.

The industry must want to create sustainable and self-generating careers, that will be used to support women to build a range and breadth of skills in this industry for the long-term. This $5 million plan, to be refined and further developed by an experienced Gender Matters Taskforce (below) consists of the following:

  1. The Women's Story Fund - an initiative to stimulate awareness and increase industry activity around storytelling by women, focusing on bold, original and compelling fully-formed story concepts.
  2. Enterprise Women - business support to create industry infrastructure around women, encouraging mentorship schemes, placements, slate development, workshops, events and proposals for strategy and business development.
  3. Attachments for Women - in circumstances where Screen Australia invests more than $500,000 in a project, attachments or reverse attachments are proposed to provide valuable production experience for women who want to break into the industry as creatives or crew.
  4. Matched Distribution Guarantee Support of up to $300,000, to enhance the distribution and marketing of quality Australian films with significant female content, encouraging close partnership with distributors on female-driven projects.
  5. Assessment criteria changes - to be made across Screen Australia, aimed at encouraging projects that promote gender and cultural diversity and removing the barriers faced by women who take time out of the workforce, including added consideration of Gender Diversity in overall slate assessment.

The Gender Matters Taskforce:

Deanne Weir -Head of the Gender Matters Taskforce

Imogen Banks - Producer

Corrie Chen - Screenwriter and director

Sandi Don - Head of Distribution, Hopscotch/eOne

Sophie Hyde - Director and producer

Emma Jensen - Writer

Samantha Lang - Writer, director and President of the Australian Directors Guild

Sue Maslin - Producer

Miranda Tapsell - Actor

Natalie Tran - Vlogger, actor and writer


Miranda Tapsell from the Gender Matters Taskforce

Corrie Chen from the Gender Matters Taskforce

SO once you've digested all that, find yourself a comfy spot on the couch, pour a gin and tune into this interview from ABC Radio with Trish Lake from Freshwater Productions, about women in film in Australia. She talks about Screen Australia's Gender Matters initiative, the Griffith Film School and Screen Queensland's positive work. She also talks about the responsibility of independent producers in choices they make.

Looking forward to the NZ version in 2016 - we hope! It's all WE want for Xmas at the WIFT office!