Dinner debate: No Place For Young Women

Dinner debate on the subject of equal opportunities for female film directors organised by FERA, EWA and SAA in cooperation with the LUX Prize.
Hosted by: Nadja Hirsch, Vice Chair on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Date: 10 December 2013.
Venue: L’Oignon restaurant, 4 rue des Moulins, Petite France, Strasbourg.

Welcome and opening words from Elisabeth O. Sjaastad, Chief Executive FERA.

Speech by Keynote speaker Benja Stig Fagerland, author of the soon-to-be published book SHEconomy.
Key points:
• SHEconomy is about the empowerment of women, through a business oriented approach, not through an equality and gender approach.
• Women in corporate boards and decision-making positions, is not a matter of being right, it’s a matter of being smart. It´s a business imperative and a possibility to “detox” outdated boards and organizations – and boost economic growth.
• Benja elucidated on her experience in advising Norway’s business organisation, the NHO, on how to find and prepare women for the boardroom. “The first step I took was to have a new rhetoric,” she said. “This was not about gender or equality but about human talent and how we could release half of that female talent which was there, but hidden away.”
• Benja spoke of the successful ‘Female future – Mobilising Talents’ programme which she created. It has become a model for other countries and also a great incentive for women to show initiative.

Facts and Figures (from the United Kingdom, France and Europe-wide):

Speech by Beryl Richards, director and chair women’s committee in Directors UK.

Key points:

• Campaign of Directors UK - Looking at TV and tracking of female representation
• Significant genre gender stereotyping is evident and women being confined by soap, family and kids – the lowest paid areas with little chance to progress.
• In the UK there is a tiny pool of trusted directors, if they are not available a man is hired, therefore women have to move sideways all the time in terms of career development.
• Difficulty in women finding agents to be put forward.
• Looking at ways to changing the current situation – including targets, monitoring and mentoring.
• The campaign is to go public spring 2014 and to name and shame those who have failed to implement necessary changes.

Speech by Lou Jeunet, writer, director and member of Groupe 25 Images France.

Key points:

• Groupe 25 Images is an association of television directors but also includes those who work in cinema, documentary and web programs.
• A small group from Groupe 25 Images organised a screening and debate in October 2013 regarding the issue of gender equality for women in television.
• There is support from the French Government re gender equality; from Aurelie Filipetti minister for culture and Najat Vallaud Belkhacem minister for gender equality.
• Despite the fact that generally there is equality in terms of entry to film school often women make one film after graduating but not a second.
• The proportion of women in audiovisual in France has not changed for the last 30 years, only 24% of directors in film are women, 16% authors and directors in television are women and 3% directors in television are women.
• More women are becoming script writers as there are not many opportunities to direct.
• Some of the future proposals include fighting stereotypes in the media, gender equality in terms of film selection and film festival juries.

Speech by Julio Talavera from the European Audiovisual Observatory re figures Europe-wide.

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