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18 November 2016

Australian study argues male producers prevent equality

A new study published on The Conversation to tie in with Australia’s annual Screen Forever conference argues that men control the film industry, preventing gender equality.

In an article entitled ‘Women aren’t the problem in the film industry, men are’, authors Deb Verhoeven and Stuart Palmer of Deakin University argue that state-funded film production and Screen Australia‘s Gender Matters initiative imply “the key problem for addressing gender inequity lies with women themselves”.

Noting that films with male producers typically have creative teams that are 70% male and films with female producers are still 60% male, Verhoeven and Palmer analysed data on key creative roles in the 205 films submitted to the Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts awards between 2006 and 2015, then used ‘Social Network Analysis’ to reveal how the film industry operates as a series of creative networks in which male-dominated/-only creative teams thrive [above women are represented by orange dots, men by purple dots].

Further using ‘Criminal Network Analysis’ [right – pink dots represent men who worked exclusively with other men, green dots represent men who worked with women], Verhoeven and Palmer identified individual producers with the most influence in the film industry, finding:

  • 40% of all male producers worked exclusively with other men in key creative roles
  • 30% of the films made by these male-only teams were also nominally about men, e.g The Railway Man
  • more than 75% of male producers worked on films with only one or no women in key creative roles

They conclude that “The historically consistent lack of equity for women in the film industry is not inevitable, but is caused by identifiable networks of people.”

Click here to read the full article.