The Canada Media Fund (CMF) announced a series of tangible measures it will put in place to increase women in key roles on CMF-funded productions. These include concrete changes to the CMF’s guidelines and policies, a commitment to achieving gender parity in all juries that are put in place to evaluate projects, and support for third-party initiatives, among other measures to be implemented in the upcoming fiscal year and subsequently. This announcement coincides with the U.N.’s International Women’s Day 2017 celebrations, the theme of which is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.”
As demonstrated by research conducted in different markets around the world and by the CMF’s own statistics, women are underrepresented in leadership categories in the screen-based industries: on average, for content the CMF invests in, women in leadership positions represent 17 per cent of directors, 34 per cent of writers and 39 per cent of producers. According to a Women in View on Screen report submitted to the CRTC, for 17 of the 29 series supported by the CMF in 2012-2013, representing a public investment of $39M, not a single woman directed any of the 151 episodes.
This is not a problem exclusive to Canada’s screen-based industries. According to Statistics Canada, women hold 35.5 per cent of all management positions and only 33.3 per cent of all senior management positions in Canada’s workforce. In keeping with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, the CMF’s initiatives will provide meaningful solutions to gender imbalance in the audiovisual industry workplace.
“Different perspectives trigger innovation and creativity, and lead us to a more holistic world view. Societies that maximize diverse views offer a competitive advantage. By way of a U.S. example, in 2016, FX channel received a record number of Emmy nominations after increasing the diversity of directors on its productions from 12 per cent in 2014 to 51 per cent to 2016,” stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “We hold the view that female-led stories and ideas are available to our content makers. We believe that the talent and skill are out there. We only need to level the playing field, so new opportunities for women can be triggered. I’m confident the measures we are announcing today will trigger those opportunities.”