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Industry / Market - Europe

Industry Report: Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Women still represent less than 25% of European film directors, as revealed by a European Audiovisual Observatory report


The study shows that the gender gap is less pronounced among producers, lead actors and screenwriters, whilst female DoPs and composers struggle to reach 10% of the continent’s audiovisual workforce

Women still represent less than 25% of European film directors, as revealed by a European Audiovisual Observatory report

Yesterday, the European Audiovisual Observatory published a new study entitled Female Professionals in European Film Production. The report, compiled by Patrizia Simone, covers the period 2016-2020 and discloses several key figures about women’s presence in the continent’s audiovisual workforce. The analysis draws on data from the body’s LUMIERE database, which collates annual admissions to theatrically released films from a variety of sources, including national film agencies. It is worth mentioning the fact that the study takes into account only feature-length productions, leaving out shorts and event cinema screenings.

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The first key finding shows that women still represent less than one European film director out of four. In detail, female directors in the sample were involved, whether alone or in partnership with other colleagues, in the direction of 23% of European features. However, the report notes, “Women directed on average fewer films than men, and they were less likely to be the sole directors of feature films than their male counterparts, [thus] the [actual] average share of female directors per film was 21% between 2016 and 2020” and that of female-driven directorial teams accounted for just 20%. Moreover, the research highlights, “The share of female directors did not significantly change over the considered time period, [and it] was higher for documentary films than for live-action and animated features.”

Meanwhile, the average level of activity for women directors was slightly lower than that for their male counterparts: 89% of women only directed one film (compared to 83% for male directors), and just 11% worked on two or more films (compared to 17% for men). Thus, each female director shot on average 1.1 films, as against 1.2 films for male directors.

The gender gap is less pronounced among lead acting roles (where women accounted for 39% of the workforce), producers (33%) and screenwriters (27%). In turn, DoPs and composers struggle even more to gain a foothold, as their presence accounts for just 10% and 9%, respectively.

In broader terms, women working in key roles in film crews tended to work in teams more often than their male colleagues, and they were less likely than men to be the sole professionals working in a given role on a feature film. Hopefully, these figures will encourage more festivals and financing bodies to implement financial production policies and incentives that incorporate gender parity.

You can access the full report here.

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