WOMEN STILL GETTING LEFT BEHIND IN CANADIAN FILM AND TV BIZ: STUDY

Women are making strides in some areas, but Indigenous women and women of colour are woefully underrepresented

Sarah Polley is one of Canada's best-known female directors. However a new study shows that women still have a long way to go before they're on equal ground in the Canadian film and TV biz.

Women are making inroads in some areas of the Canadian film and TV business, but in others they’re still woefully underrepresented — especially women of colour and Indigenous women.

That’s the gist of a new report by the non-profit organization Women in View that analyzed 5,000 film and TV contracts between 2014 and 2017.

The study looked at key roles including writing, directing and cinematography on Canadian network TV series and Telefilm-funded English-language films.

There was some good news: between 2014 and 2017, women went from filling 17 percent of the jobs to 28 percent, which represents a significant jump.

However just 1.81 percent of the contracts went to women of colour, and Indigenous women landed a paltry .69 percent.

In television in 2017, no directing, writing or cinematography roles went to Indigenous women. Of the 3,206 television contracts issued during the full four-year period, just 22 went to Indigenous women, and only 12 of 1,637 film contracts.

Just .87 percent of writing roles and 5 percent of directing jobs went to women of colour.

Over four years in Canadian television, women went from having 17 percent of key creative roles to 28 percent; however over that time, the number of Indigenous women actually fell. (Women in View On Screen Report)

Interestingly, when women were the showrunners (that is, the lead producer on a TV show), other women were far more likely to land work — a phenomenon the study dubbed “The Showrunner Effect.”

On programs with a female showrunner in 2017, 53 percent of positions went to women; when shows had a male showrunner, however, just 14 percent of positions went to women. In other words, when a man was at the helm, 86 percent of positions went to other men.

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