More female producers in TV, but more work to be done.

Women are still underrepresented in all key screen creative roles, except for producers in TV drama and online.

Industry-wide data collated by Screen Australia shows women are still underrepresented in all key screen creative roles, except for producers in TV drama and online, but gains have been made across all categories.

Screen Australia has met the goal of its Gender Matters KPI: 55% of key creative roles across approved development and production funding were women across the three-year reporting period. However, there was a downward trend across the reporting period, and more work needs to be done.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Louise Gough said, “While we are pleased to have met the target of the KPI, and acknowledge that Gender Matters has had great impact since its launch in 2015, the data shows that even with this type of intervention there is still much more work needed to support equity on and off screen.”

“We are also aware that the conversation around gender equality has advanced since the program launched, and we are in the process of reviewing how Screen Australia’s work to support women fits in with a broader strategy around intersectionality and diversity. For this reason we are extending the existing KPI for another year and the existing method will be maintained while we consider how we report and target this issue.”

“We are at a historical juncture and we remain committed to increasing the participation of women, and at the same time focusing on how gender fits into a broader context. We need to ensure these measures fit together to support an inclusive and equitable screen industry in Australia both above and below the line.”

Female-led Screen Australia projects released this year have included Nude Tuesday, Savage River, The Secrets She Keeps series 2 (pictured) and feature documentary River.

“These successes are testament to the talented women working in our sector and proof that content made by women makes sense critically, commercially and globally; and we must continue to find pathways so women creatives have better access and opportunity to tell their stories on screen,” said Gough.

The KPI was that at least 50% of the key creative roles (writers, producers and directors) across all projects that receive Screen Australia development and production funding would be women, across a three-year average (2019/20 to 2021/22). While the 55% final average exceeds this target, the trend across the three years is down, beginning with 57% in 2019/20, then 55% in 2020/21, and 52% in 2021/22.

In TV/VOD drama production, over time there has been a trend upward for women in all key creative roles. Looking only at 2020/21 compared to 2021/22, there was a slight increase from 59% to 61% for women producers, a small drop for women directors from 57% to 52% and similarly, a small drop for women writers, from 56% to 53%. Overall, the three-year averages in each role are above parity, and the results in 2021/22 (55%) are a marked increase from the initial year of reporting in 2016/17 (47%).



3 Responses

  1. If there are genuine discriminatory barriers preventing certain demographics from accessing a career towards which their professional merits would warrant, then by all mean eliminate those barriers. However, the worst and most counter-productive thing that could take place here is employing reverse-discriminatory tactics to fix an otherwise non-existent problem.

    1. … can actually end up with the opposite result … the ABC in the nineties had a policy of what they called “positive discrimination” to try to balance the boys club, but a female camera operator raised it to me in a formal complaint as the NSW branch had decided that assessment panels for female operators had to contain a female specialist and, of course, at the time there were none in a senior role and she felt that having another woman with lesser skills decide her fate would make it somehow not “valid” and she would be looked down upon as having “cheated” by other people … she had seen others who didn’t have the necessary skills take advantage of this “positive discrimination” and didn’t want to be lumped in with them …

      1. Sadly true. This is symptomatic of establishment authorities concerning themselves more with identity politics than with actually advancing the craft and profession of any creative industry. I for one would consider it almost offensively patronising if I were given special consideration for a position of creative authority due only to an innate attribute of mine. However, sadly, such reverse discriminatory practices are only growing, and being officially encouraged within the industry.

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