2019 – Women in Film, Women Writers, and ..er…Nepotism

Hello, 2019 is with us and let’s hope it’s the year we finally see true gender equality!

OK, maybe that’s a bit optimistic. Let’s hope it’s a great year for you and your career, then we can spread the word and give all women a helping hand.

Talking of which, have you seen The Favourite yet? I heartily recommend it, not least because it features three strong female leads who are literally doing it for themselves… (You’ll know what that means if you’ve seen it.) Olivia Coleman has rightly received a Golden Globe award for best actress 2019, but all three stars were superb. It’s a feast.

(If trailer doesn’t open try this link.)

Talking of film, which I was, you might also be interested to see this:

Despite widespread attention and protest over gender inequality in film, a new study finds that the number of female directors in the top 250 domestic grossing films last year dipped to 8 percent.

That was down 3 percentage points from 2017, according to the 21st annual Celluloid Ceiling report released Thursday by the Center for the Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. It was even below the 9 percent level achieved 20 years earlier in 1998. Researchers found slight gains for women in other roles. In 2018, women comprised 20 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive directors, editors and cinematographers in the top 250 films. That’s up 2 percentage points from 2017.

The study’s author, Martha Lauzen, the executive director of San Diego State’s center, said such modest gains behind the camera, particularly in the director’s chair, reveal an industry resistant to changing long-term gender inequity.

“The study provides no evidence that the mainstream film industry has experienced the profound positive shift predicted by so many industry observers over the last year,” Lauzen said.

“This radical underrepresentation is unlikely to be remedied by the voluntary efforts of a few individuals or a single studio. Without a large-scale effort mounted by the major players — the studios, talent agencies, guilds and associations — we are unlikely to see meaningful change. The distance from 8 percent to some semblance of parity is simply too vast.”

The largest gains, according to researchers, were among writers (16 percent, up 5 percentage points from 2017) and producers (21 percent, also up 5 percentage points from 2017).

The study also found that in 2018, just 1 percent of films employed 10 or more women in key off-camera roles, while 74 percent of films employed 10 or more men in such jobs.

Researchers also isolated the top 100 and the top 500 films in 2018, though results were similar. Women accounted for 16 percent of directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 100 films (no change from 2017), and 23 percent of the same roles on the top 500 films (an increase of 2 percentage points from 2017).

From Film Writer Jake Coyle

Book Club

Regular readers will know that I am passionate about promoting and supporting women writers who still get a raw deal in publishing (see this alarming experiment from 2017). We have a virtual book club which actually meets every six weeks but I also share with you the book we are reading and welcome your comments, too. Get involved either by emailing me or on Twitter using hashtag #WWBC (Women Writers Book Club). Or start your own club supporting female writers, and let them know. Our next book is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I haven’t read it yet having realised that if I read the book too far in advance I often forget salient points at our book club meeting, (although there may be another reason why that happens…) but I am about to.

Via Penguin Books South Africa

Blatant Nepotism

2019 promises to be quite exciting for me, as it happens. I may just have mentioned that I’m about to be a first time grandmother in the Spring (knitting like a demon) so am expecting an avalanche of emotions then. My daughter and son in law are drowning under knitted blankets! Be gentle with me over the next few months… Plus, my son and daughter in law, aka New Old Friends, are touring their latest play, a comedy called Crimes on the Nile. It opens Tuesday 8th January for 3 weeks before going on a national tour, and I will be there with his Dad. I will be a total bag of nerves (honestly, although it’s at The Ustinov, Theatre Royal Bath it’s still like watching him being  pig in the Nativity at Infant’s School. Yes, his first acting role was a pig in the Nativity. No wonder he started writing his own material.) If you go and see it please do let me know. We tend to go a few times as I love to see it evolve, so if you spot an older looking version of the blog picture in the audience (note to self: get a new picture this year) do say hello. They are all over the UK until May so there’s a good chance they may be near you. Here’s a list of the venues. End of advert.

And for myself, I plan to bring you many more interviews with inspiring women this year. I also hope to get Speak Up out and about in businesses and empowering a many women as possible to get their voices heard, along with RenewYou. The world will be a much better place when we have gender equality. Not because women are intrinsically better than men but because a world designed to suit only one half of the population (also known as the Patriarchy) is not making the best use of its talents. Heaven knows we have a few problems to solve so let’s get everyone involved. If you haven’t yet heard of the Women’ Equality Party now might be a good time to give them your support. Whatever you want to achieve this year, I wish you much success.  Go for it!

Happy New Year to you, and lang may yer lum reek!

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Posted on January 7th, 2019 by

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