First and foremost, 'the film industry' is changing; It has gone from being a mans world to being a more open minded and inclusive industry. However, while things are being more open and inclusive, there are still reports saying that female film makers were in decline during early 2014 and the sexism doesn't seem to stop anytime soon. This post will be about women in film and while things are not good today, things are definitely going in the right direction even though it is with very small steps.
I will write about other types of inequality, because i feel that´s the essence of what we are talking about here. I thought I should shed some light on the issues we face as well as reasons to why it is so important to start talking about "it". This will probably be subject I will have reason to come back to later on as a series where I follow up on the progress from time to time, maybe one or two times a year.
In the past
When we talk about women working in film in the past, it has most often been women working as actresses and without giving any thought to the active women behind the camera. Surely film productions in the past were primarily run by men but even today, we have a hard time naming female directors, female photographers and women in other prominent positions. Like with most industries, women has been in the background, not invited to take the lead and not invited to grow if they for some reason had the opportunity to grab a seat at the table, they would face serious obstacles with men and women working against them. I will not focus on the many reasons for this but instead focus on the economic aspects and positive sides of the industry.
First some statistics... Look at the picture below, one of the six pictures states something extremely obvious but something the production companies, distributors and market has completely forgot about or maybe don´t care about? Women purchase half of the tickets sold in the U.S. and most definitely the same numbers around the world. So how can it be that 50% of the market has been neglected for so long? Not only are women a economically strong demographic, they also tend to attract a wider audience, which in turn could mean a higher return of investment.
The start of something new
Let´s continue; In recent years we've started to see a strong positive change in women in the film industry. Incentives and funds directed towards women help productions getting closer to their goals and actually being made and what otherwise would be close to impossible has become more doable and frequent. More women are becoming influential and are now getting recognition in many parts of the world. It's not perfect but still, it is a great improvement. Today women can be in the front row of the film industry and even if its not common, it is not something uncommon like before.
The film industry is though and still very much dominated by men but things are starting to even out. If you take a look at what is going on below the surface, you will see that things are better than yesterday and that is good reason to continue the work. I believe we all benefit from a diverse and open minded industry, not only in film but in all industries.
There is so many women worth mentioning in 'the industry' and some that will probably be worth mentioning soon enough; I'll wait with a list until I have more time and more coffee. I guess that will be some work to put together especially in 2016 when many movies will be directed by women, or at least, that's what I hope.
The difference between Sweden and the U.S.
While I write about women in film I could explain the simple difference between America and Sweden, in terms of equality in film. Since I live in Los Angeles nowadays it is nice to see how influential women are here. In Sweden we are trying to make everything go fast and efficient. It is not always we succeed, some things takes time. Getting women integrated and influential in a business so dominated by men are not an easy feat and cannot be forced without creating opposition, which is sad. Click here for an update in 2016 and here for an update in 2017.
Swedish film are opening up incentives for women, some help, some don't. Some force not so experienced women to take on roles that might scare them off, however, someone needs to be first and in this case, there is nothing right or wrong as long it is progressing steadily. Wrong would be not to encourage women to take on projects and not to give them help.
Still, in my opinion, the american film industry has made a more natural transition and in that way helped women to discover role models or to try, to take a leading role and start new collaborations. Not because they are "forced" but because they want to and can. I believe we all need someone or something to push us in the right direction once in a while, especially for something important as gender equality. The issue are in all forms and industries, creative or not.
There are a few things film Schools could do. Take more responsibility and introduce new role models, female directors and film producers that bring change instead of Ingmar Bergman or the old ones, they have their place in history but in order to bring change, we need something new introduced.
Change is coming, slowly, sooner rather than later and we will see change, not in a general term but in the mentality of people. In a not to distant future, things are going to be somewhat equal, in a few countries at least. Film and TV is changing, so are gender equality.
Feel free to learn more about the work women does in film and how society affects the industry on the sites below:
Thank you for visiting.