Gender equity in the audiovisual sector in Europe and the USA: who is leading the struggle?
by Aurore Engelen
- CANNES 2018: The CNC has hosted a round-table in Cannes to shed light on the recent movements for gender equity in the audiovisual sector
Gender equity in the audiovisual sector was at the heart of the Cannes Film Festival this weekend, as 82 women climbed the steps on Saturday evening. This massive protest was orchestrated by Time’s Up (UK/USA) and the French movement 5050x2020, which also teamed up with the CNC to host a round-table to share experiences, good practice and inspiration on the subject, moderated by French directors Céline Sciamma and Rebecca Zlotowski. Other organisations involved included Dissenso Comune (Italy), Greek Women’s Wave and CIMA Cineastas (Spain).
The discussion was introduced by European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, followed by French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen, who announced a major conference in Paris to take place by the end of June, as well as the creation of a fund dedicated to the development and production of new projects by young female directors.
Zlotowski stressed that more than 600 key players from the French cinema industry had joined 5050x2020 and had committed to talking about the redistribution of power. They were also dedicated to looking beyond the “sexual” aspect of the gender-equity issue, dealing with very specific matters such as salaries, diversity and intersectional struggles.
Intersectionality is a core value for many of these organisations, especially for the Time’s Up representatives. Maha Dakhil, who founded Time’s Up USA with a group of colleagues from the CAA, underlined the fact that more than a historic moment, this should be a moment to look to the future. The women of the world should look within their own gender for inequalities, as it is something that concerns us all. That is why the movement is called “Time’s Up”, rather than “Girl Power”, as it includes men in the struggle for equality.
Kate Kinninmont, from Women in Film, has been campaigning for gender equality for years in the UK, and contributed by offering the British industry various principles and guidance on how to avoid bullying and harassment. She stressed the need to press on with this struggle without any shred of elitism, and for it to be an inclusive movement, giving a voice to the minorities.
In Southern Europe, the main players striving for gender equality have only just started appearing on the scene and may face even more challenges. Italy has been a particularly difficult case for women who have embraced the #MeToo movement. Dissenso Comune was founded to support the voice of women, as actress Asia Argento was brutally trashed by the press and the Italian people alike. In Greece, the Greek Women’s Wave started only a month ago. Although the common goal of reaching equity in 2020 seems unlikely in Greece, the association has started gathering data and figures to assess the situation, and to convince the politicians that action is urgently needed. Daphne Patakia, the only actress at the table, wondered about the representation of women on screen: where were the “normal” women, the ones from her everyday life?
Sarah Calderon, from CIMA Cineastas (Spain), stressed the gap between the male-dominated industry and the audience for independent movies, which is mainly female, and lamented the fact that most film critics are men, who are often very hard on movies directed by women.
The round-table ended with the signing of the Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals by the Cannes Film Festival (represented by Thierry Frémaux, Charles Tesson and Paolo Moretti).
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