Women in View Releases Report on the Status of Women Working in TV in Canada

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by Melissa Silverstein
June 5, 2013 2:00 PM
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Women in View, a national non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the Canadian media industry by strengthening gender and cultural diversity both on screen and behind the scenes released a report Focus on Women 2013 and convened a symposium -- Sex Money Media -- to discuss the statistics and what needs to be done to change them.  One of the author's of the report and Women in View's Executive Director Rina Fraticelli is calling for a 60-40 split: "no more than 60 per cent and no fewer than 40 per cent of either gender on sets."

Here's some language from their executive summary.  (The full report can be read here.)

Canadian women represent more than half the population, and close to half the labour pool, but a much smaller proportion of the work force in television, particularly in the areas of creative influence and financial control.  We know from an abundance of contemporary research that women employed in media industries are disproportionately represented in the stereotypically female occupations (hair, make-up), or what are known as “ taking care” roles (production managers, production assistants, line producers, associate producers) in support of those calling the shots - the “taking charge” roles.

There is increasing evidence that even when women succeed in establishing themselves in positions of creative authority, they are rarely seen in the top-most echelons; and that, at almost every level, they earn less than their male counterparts.

The report covers the postions of screenwriter, director and cinematographer on 21 series that were funded by the Canada Media Fund from 2010-2011.  These series cover just under $100 million in public funds.  

The stats:

  • Women directed 16% of the episodes.  11 of the 21 series employed not a single woman director on any of their 133 episodes.  14 women directed a total of 34 of the episodes and only four of those women directed more than one episode.  (31 of the 73 men directed more than one episode.)
  • No minority women directors were employed on any of the 21 series.
  • Not a single female cinematographer was employed to work on any of the 272 episodes of these 21 series.
  • 36% -- 48 -- of the screenwriters were women.  16 women wrote more than two episodes.  (38 men wrote more than two episodes.)
  • Only four minority women were employed as screenwriters.
  • 13 of the 21 series focused on a male protagonist while only six were centered on the experience of a female leading character. Two other series were centered on a male and female team.
  • 13 of the 21 series employed no racialized minority or First Nations writers or directors of either sex on any of their 178 episodes. 


Here are some points from the conclusion: "My Canada Includes Women."

  • This is more than an issue of employment equity
  • Media is more than an industry. It's also a critically important platform for cultural expression.
  • The questions these findings leave us with are simple: Why don’t we emphasize our greatest assets in such an important, sustainable and exportable industry? Given the value of diversity in a global marketplace, why have we not seen significant change in the previous decades? And how can our public investment in this cultural industry better reflect and serve today's Canada?


Shortage of Women Behind the Camera (The Toronto Star)

Women not making the cut in Canadian movie and TV industry (The Toronto Star)

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