Women in View released their fifth report of Women in View On Screen, a periodic report that documents the participation of women in creative roles in Canada’s publicly funded film and TV industry. The 2019 report finds that women – especially women of colour and Indigenous women – remain significantly under-employed on Canada’s film and television productions. It also finds that women’s creative leadership is key to unlocking gender balance and greater diversity. The 2019 report examines more than 5,000 contracts issued between 2014 and 2017 in television, and between 2015 and 2017 in film.
Among the report’s key findings, the most revealing was that the gender of the creative leader on a project has a major impact on the project’s gender balance and diversity. When women were showrunners on TV series, 50% of the writing, directing and cinematography contracts went to women and 50% to men. This is opposed to series ran by men that saw 86% of the work go to men. On split teams, series ran by a man and a woman, 41% of contracts went to women. When women of colour and Indigenous women showran a TV series,not only was there gender balance, there was also far greater diversity among the writers, directors and cinematographers employed.
The report also showed that the number of women working in the industry did increase, albeit slowly. Between 2014 and 2017, women’s share of television writing, directing and cinematography contracts increased by 11%, from 17% to 28%. Women of colour have an even harder time finding work, with only 1.18% of television contracts in 2017 going to women of colour and indigenous women’s participation in television falling to 0% in 2017.
Gender balance differed significantly across broadcasters of CMF-funded TV series the report also found. Between 2014 and 2017, the percentage of contracts awarded to women in writing, directing and cinematography at APTN was 27.3%, CBC 26.9%, Corus 17.8%, Rogers Media 16.1% and Bell Media 15.7%.
“We are proud to be able to share extensive data on the participation of women of colour and Indigenous women throughout this report,” said Tracey Deer, Board Chair, Women in View. “Although the numbers are dreadful, they provide us with a baseline and we can work from here to improve them.”
Women in View’s 2019 report does point to a number of strategies and recommendations for achieving gender balance and greater diversity as outlined in its “Five Steps to 50:50”. “The numbers may seem dismal, but Canada has enough experienced and credited women showrunners, writers, directors and producers to take on 50% of the work today,” said Jill Golick, Executive Director of Women in View. “Broadcasters and other employers can take the industry to 50:50 in the next two years. There are many qualified women, they just have to hire them.”
Five Steps to 50:50
Commit 50% of creative leadership roles to women.
Commit to the inclusion of women of colour and Indigenous women.
Set concrete measurable targets, make them public and report on the results.
Open the doors to new and under-represented talent.
Balance funding across men and women.
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The full 2019 Women in View Report can be found here.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.