May 4th 2021, 12:00pm-1:00pm ET
Keynote talk: Sharon McGowan (Women in Film and Television-Vancouver; University of British Columbia) and Susan Brinton (Women in Film and Television-Vancouver)
Introduction: Peter Cockett (McMaster University)
Presenters: Sharon McGowan and Susan Brinton
Women have moved into key creative positions in the Canadian film and TV industry and they’re getting significantly more government funding for productions. Making such inroads in the traditionally male-dominated screen industry has been a long fight. It’s taken decades of targeted research, policy analysis and unrelenting advocacy by women’s industry organizations. Recently, the MeToo movement has spurred more awareness and access for women.
But major roadblocks to gender equity remain. Those who have benefited are mostly white women. Indigenous women, Black women and Women of Colour remain vastly underrepresented. And while women have broken through in key creative roles - writer, director, producer - the massive below-the-line workforce of film technicians remains solidly the domain of white men. Public money is funding this inequity, since Canadian tax credits worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually, is given to both Canadian and foreign productions.
Women also are confronted by the family-toxic “bro’ culture” of film and television sets. The hierarchy is rigid, the working hours punishingly long, and getting a job or moving up relies on “who you know.” That keeps out women, gender-diverse and racialized people, as well as people with disabilities.
In this talk, we’ll cover the history and key turning points in the struggle for gender equity in Canada’s film and television industry. We’ll highlight some current research and developments for getting more women into jobs. Gender equity matters deeply, both on a personal level for women and in cultural recognition, since who’s behind the screen profoundly influences what’s on the screen.