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Gender Parity in European Film Won’t Be Reached Until 2080, Study Finds

At the current pace, it will take women filmmakers in Europe more than 50 years to reach gender parity with men, a new study has found.

French think tank Lab Femmes de Cinéma looked at the progress made on gender parity initiatives across Europe in the six years from 2017 — when reports of sexual assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein triggered the global #MeToo movement — to 2023.

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The study found that out of the 36 European countries researched, 16 had implemented measures aimed at combating abuse inside the film industry and 13 have begun to use funding applications as a tool to promote gender parity and diversity. But the goal of full 50/50 male/female parity is still a long way off. Women directors still account for just 23 percent of European filmmakers, the study found and, at the current rate of progress, Europe won’t achieve gender parity until 2080.

“The glass ceiling for women filmmakers still exists in the European film industry,” says Lise Perottet, General Coordinator of the Lab Femmes de Cinéma. “The study revealed that there is still a reluctance to implement quotas on more equal gender financing in the film industry. Only Spain has recently introduced firm quotas. Austria, Norway, and the U.K. have followed with, so-called, soft quotas that work more as a recommendation. The most gratifying change is seeing that some national film centers have started to work on unconscious bias, the stereotypes leaving women in film behind that we are not aware of as well as supporting parenthood that disproportionately affects women in the industry. However, these initiatives are still rare and most of them have only recently started. At this pace, equality in the film industry is decades away.”

The European study chimes with a similar survey published last month looking at the rate of progress made on gender parity in the U.K., Canadian and German film industries, which found that full gender parity, with women occupying 50 percent of key creative positions, is more than 15 years away in Germany, more than 60 years off in the U.K., and almost 200 years away in Canada. (Canadian federal film funding body, Telefilm Canada refutes the findings, saying its own data reveals” a very different narrative”).

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