20 September 2010
Girls on film: industry survey looks at gender divide
A still from Hunt Angels (2006), which told the true story of Australian guerrilla filmmakers, Alma Brooks and Rupert Kathner. Photo: Lisa Tomasetti
RMIT University has launched a major survey into women's participation in Victoria's film, television, video and digital media industries, as part of the first study of gender balance in the screen industry in nearly two decades.
Associate Professor Lisa French said preliminary research indicated women were under-represented in key creative roles in Australia's audiovisual industries and had significantly lower representation in the field, than in the general workforce.
"There has been no research by these industries into gendered representation in front of or behind the camera since 1992," Associate Professor French, who is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies in RMIT's School of Media and Communication, said.
"This survey responds to an urgent need for data on whether – and why – women might be losing ground in these industries.
"It forms a major part of a project investigating the quality of the working lives of Victorian women in the film, television, video and digital media industries.
"We want to find out whether women contribute, have their voices or stories heard, are represented equally, and whether they are valued and respected in these industries."
The survey focuses on pivotal issues such as access to employment, industry progression and barriers to progression, pay equity, gender representation (job type and on-screen roles), and workplace and organisational cultures.
Associate Professor French said results from the survey – which is supported by a number of industry guilds and organisations – could help set policy direction by providing an evidence base, as well as setting agendas for further research.
RMIT Adjunct Professor and renowned film producer Sue Maslin (Japanese Story, Hunt Angels, Road to Nhill) said the survey was long overdue.
"A cursory glance at the success of women writers, producers and directors over the past 10 years might lead one to expect that women had achieved equality at last in key creative roles," Adjunct Professor Maslin said.
"This survey will let us know if this success is disproportionate and women are batting well above average or if more needs to be done to redress the imbalance."
Men and women currently working in the Victorian industries are encouraged to take part in the 15-minute survey.