As the subject is already significant in society, in France and worldwide, the issue of gender equality and parity in the audiovisual and film industry deserves our full attention at the beginning of 2022.
In this regard, since 2018 the French National Center for Cinema (CNC) and a French collective named 50/50 organized meetings for equality, parity and diversity in the cinema and the audiovisual field in order to carry out studies on the presence of women in the sector and on their actual working conditions and to propose and implement measures promoting parity.
Before reviewing the main measures implemented or considered, a brief assessment of the situation is in order.
Despite the measures implemented to promote parity, the women’s presence remains low in film and audiovisual production.
In this regard, we can note that in 2020 only 25% of cinematographic films were directed by women, which remains very low despite the incentive measures put in place, but still represents an increase of 2% since 2017.
The presence of women as directors varies according to the type of work: only 24% of women directors in the field of fiction, 30% in documentaries and 28% for animated movies, while nearly 40% of directors of short films are women.
In addition, it has been highlighted that women directors have an average budget 41% lower than that of men (2.23 million euros, against 3.81 million).
In general, the average salary of women is lower than that of men and fewer of them are entrusted with positions of high responsibility. According to the study published in December 2021 by the 50/50 collective, among the 15 films with the highest budget in 2019, a woman directed none and no woman was sole in charge of a creation position.
The same study notes that women represent only 38% of the main characters in French initiative films released in 2019.
The same observation is made with regard to audiovisual works and film broadcasted on television.
Thus, in 2018, women realized only 8.3% of all film broadcasted on French historical channels. The same year, solely 18.2% of audiovisual works of fiction broadcast on television were directed or co-directed by women.
On January 1, 2019, the CNC implemented a bonus for films which artistic crew meets parity, that is to say who have at least as many women as men in their main management positions.
The objective is to promote the employment of women in key positions in film production by granting a 15% bonus to eligible films mobilizing their automatic support account.
The producer’s use of this parity bonus is increasing as it benefited 22% of films in 2019, 34% in 2020 and 33% in 2021.
During the presentation of the latest report on parity and women’s presence in November 2021, Ms. Roselyne Bachelot, French Minister of Culture, evoked the possibility of extending this « parity bonus » to audiovisual works.
However, this requires a preliminary study while the CNC does not currently have information pertaining to the « leader »/ « head of services « working on the production of audiovisual works, while a study must be published in early 2022.
Therefore, the conditions for extending the parity bonus to the audiovisual production remain to be specified and are subject to the results of this study.
Since January 1, 2021, the allocation and payment of all CNC aids and supports are subject to the beneficiaries’ compliance with their obligations to prevent sexual harassment and to implement measures to stop it and sanction it.
This involves in particular an obligation to provide training against sexual and gender-based violence for the production of cinema, audiovisual, technical industries and video games.
Accordingly, since the start of 2022 it is necessary for a producer to justify of its registration for the training offered by the CNC in Paris or in the provinces and via e-learning. As of July 1, 2022, it will be necessary to prove that the producer actually followed the training in order to benefit from CNC’s support.
According to the latest figures from the CNC, more than 2,000 professionals have already followed this training and they should be 9,000 by 2023.
The mandatory follow-up of such training will be extended to the operating sector from March 2022, with an obligation to have actually take it from 2023.
We can also evoke that an insurance scheme has been put in place in the event of filming interruption due to a situation of harassment, gender-based or sexual violence from which 400 films have benefited and that no fact of harassment has been declared in this context.
In addition, the 50/50 collective provides professionals with a white paper against harassment and sexual violence and organizes training on the subject for film crews.
Finally, in order to best support victims, Audiens (social security) in partnership with CNC, offers all professionals the opportunity to benefit from a consultation with psychologists on issues specific to artistic professions, for example: the hold of a director on an actress.
When it comes to promoting the presence of women and parity, we can also highlight that:
– Parity is mandatory within the commissions and committees granting aids and their presidency in order to guarantee a greater place for women in decision-making.
– A greater presence of film directed by women in the catalogs of school systems for the promotion of the cinema is favored with a guarantee of 5 women’s films added to the catalog each year, which was even exceeded in 2021 with an addition of 9 films directed by women.
In view of the above, it appears that the issue of parity and women’s presence in film production is taken into consideration and that initial progress can be noted. It remains to be seen whether uses and practices will continue to evolve positively and whether the incentive measures will be extended to the audiovisual sector in order to allow tangible improvement.
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