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Women’s representation in the broadcast industry

Post Author Take1 / April 21st 2015

It is a fact that women are underrepresented in the broadcast industry. One study actually found that women made up just 23% of crew members in the 2,000 highest grossing films of the past 20 years.

But why is this? Is it assumed that roles in film and TV are better suited to males? Are women not equal to men in terms of creative skill or technical ability?

These things clearly aren’t true, but there must be something holding women back.

Starting with education

Some seem to think that the root of the problem lies in education.

Kate Beal, writing for Broadcast Now said that “It is apparent that in some universities, female media students are often directed into the production roles by the assumption that they want to produce, while male students seem to dominate the camera and editing roles”

It is also thought that because university media courses can be tailored, students are choosing to specialise in certain areas and neglecting other disciplines. This of course, causes many women to steer away from learning the technical roles that their male counterparts clearly dominate.

To counter this it has been suggested that students should participate in courses that teach all television skills from the outset, and guarantee that all women receive the same opportunities as men on the same course.

BFI funding

According to one Guardian article, The British Film Institute is trying to tackle the problem too. They’re handing out £27m a year and introducing quotas that stipulate films must have a certain percentage of crew and actors who are female, disabled, or gay to qualify for BFI funding.

The study also showed which films had the highest rate in female crew. Mean Girls, The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, and Honey all came top with 42% of the crew being female. The films with the least female crew members were On Deadly Ground, and Robots, both with a small 10%.

Moving forward

It’s a good sign that this issue is being discussed, and through this discussion we can hope that solutions are offered. The issue, however, is a complicated one, and it looks as if it is a general trend. Many women just don’t feel comfortable taking a role within an arena dominated largely by men, and so it won’t be solved overnight.

We would like to know what you think could be done to introduce more women into the industry, and why you think there aren’t as many. You can join the conversation on our Twitter or Facebook accounts.

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