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Study finds pervasive gender inequality in film and TV production

A new report by Canadian Unions for Screen Equality, “Focus on Women,” points to a major gap between the opportunities and earnings afforded to men and women in the independent film and TV industry. In general, men are overwhelmingly represented in the jobs that control storytelling, they earn more than women and their earnings peak a full decade later.

“Culture is big business,” reads Focus on Women. “In 2012, independent film, television and convergent media made in Canada represented $4.99 billion in production volume and 104,100 full-time equivalent jobs. But screen-based content is about more than the economy and jobs. Media both reflects and shapes the way that we see the world.”

The report’s author, Amanda Coles, a former IATSE member and now researcher at the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) and lecturer at the University of Melbourne, points out that this is the first gender-based research of its kind in Canada. Her team used data from ACTRA, the Directors Guild of Canada, the Writers Guild of Canada, various IATSE locals, NABET Local 799-CEP and the Union des artistes.

The data, which mostly covers scripted productions, shows that women continue to be over-represented in hair, makeup, costume and administrative roles and severely under-represented in camera, grip, lighting, sound, construction, special effects and, to a lesser extent, editing roles.

The researchers will continue to track gender-based equality in the industry over time.

MediaTech Commons recently launched a survey of workers involved in the mostly non-union factual TV sector. The results of that survey will shared with Coles to help develop a fuller picture of what is happening in all sectors of the industry. The factual TV survey runs to June 17. So far, more than 200 workers have responded.

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