Screen NSW has announced a 50/50 gender equity target


Danielle McGrane

Jennifer Kent was the director of <i>The Babadook</i>.

Jennifer Kent was the director of The Babadook. Photo: Supplied

There aren't enough Australian women working behind the camera in film and TV production, but Screen NSW has launched a new initiative to change all of that.

The state's TV and film body is aiming to achieve an average 50/50 in gender equity by 2020.

Screen NSW's new target comes after various calls have been made in the Australian film industry for changes to be made.


The Australian Directors Guild (ADG) recently said quotas should be set on Screen Australia's production funding.

"Across all these criteria the current funding is not being shared in a representative way. The ADG is concerned with diversity of all types, but is particularly concerned with the dramatic lack of equity in the funding of women and, in particular, female directors," Ray Argall, president of the ADG told Mumbrella.

Just 28 per cent of directors and 16 per cent of writers working on features funded by Screen NSW from 2012-2015 were female. There were more female producers at 75 per cent.

It's not just NSW which shows such a discrepancy between the sexes. Just 15 per cent of directors for Screen Australia-funded features from 2009-2014 were women, while 32 per cent of producers were female.

Screen NSW said they are working towards reducing the industry wide gender bias against women in key creative roles.

"This is an equity issue - of course it is - but for Screen NSW, its principally about supporting and enabling the very best work. And if females are so poorly represented, it means that we, as an industry, aren't exploiting all we have to offer," Screen NSW CEO Courtney Gibson said.

"The long game of this target is, for us, about levelling the playing field to ensure that women get the same opportunities as men and that the strongest work gets supported. And it can't be achieved unless we just decide that we're going to do something about it."

In the US, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an investigation into the hiring processes of Hollywood's studios, networks and talent agencies over the lack of female directors in the film and TV industry.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, founded by the award-winning actress - has been researching the gender imbalance in the movie industry.

According to the institute's stats, seven per cent of directors, 13 per cent of writers and 20 per cent of producers are female.

"The Institute's research proves that female involvement in the creative process is imperative for creating greater gender balance before production even begins," it says on the institute's website.