Monday, 12 May 2014

Women Directors – Who’s Calling the Shots? A Report by Directors UK

This report from Directors UK, out last week, made some interesting observations about the startling underrepresentation of women directors in contemporary British television. As the report point out, 'despite women representing almost 30% of the TV and film directing workforce, attitudes within the media industry are preventing women from reaching their full potential'.

These were their key findings about why it's happening:
  • Decisions on hiring are influenced by the opinions (or perceived opinions) of commissioners, in a risk-averse culture that keeps hiring the same directors.
  • Production executives responsible for hiring are unaware of low figures for women directors.
  • There is no uniform or consistent monitoring of the freelance workforce throughout the industry.
  • Beyond a trusted few, there is a lack of awareness of a large number of highly qualified and experienced women drama directors.
  • Gender stereotyping is prevalent when hiring in specific genres in drama, factual and comedy.
And their main recommendation to counteract this bias was to set 'a minimum 30% target for women directors across all broadcasters’ programming output, to be achieved in 2017'. It will be interesting to see what comes of that recommendation and of the report's finding in general. But, as Directors UK point out, it is clear that 'the current situation is not balanced if 30% of our membership is not accessing 30% of the work.'

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