1. Why a European network when there are national ones? 

At the meeting of filmmakers in Santiago de Compostela in 2010 all of those present agreed on the necessity of there being a pan-European network of audiovisual sector female professionals to combat inequality in this area and to fight against reductive images of women in audiovisual content. 

At the moment some EWA member countries have networks of women and others don’t. EWA is actively encouraging and supporting the creation of new national networks of female audiovisual professionals, for example in Romania, Finland, a new animation network in the united Kingdom, Croatia, France and so on. 

By acting as a pan-European umbrella network EWA can effectively avoid fragmentation in the industry by:
- working with pan-European institutions, such as the European Audiovisual Observatory, the European Union and Eurimages to bring about effective change;
- promoting events and initiatives to bring together filmmakers from different countries to provide new information, develop joint initiatives, share know-how and raise financing together, including developing new audiences for films by female filmmakers;
- creating a platform for sharing information thereby promoting the best practice not only at national and local level but throughout Europe;
- showcasing work from female audiovisual creatives with a wider platform of professionals than they would have access to in one country alone.

2. Why is a European women’s network necessary? 

By analysing the albeit incomplete data, it is clear that gender inequality is a problem in the industry. Why should women who attend film school not go on to make films...? What stops women from accessing support from  financiers - in particular private money? A European women’s network is necessary to address these and many other questions and to strategise together to ensure that women have equal employment rights throughout the audiovisual industry and that their voices are heard and their creative projects seen. 

As Jane Campion has shared with EWA: (filmmaking) ".. is an extremely competitive industry for everybody men and women and in my experience it is always best to focus on the work JUST BE YOUR BRILLIANT SELF. To write and or direct well is the best way forward, women can do this but it is damn hard work AND in many ways you have to be half mad to want to do it..... Because it is often to the exclusion of all else......

EWA believes that working together constructively is a way of allowing women’s "brilliant selves" as Campion puts it, to shine through in their work and on the screen and other media to the benefit of all. Indeed a recent BFI study showed that greater profitability was to be had from female written films.

3. Are you really covering the whole audiovisual sector? 

EWA’s ambition is comprehensive as it recognises the increasingly interrelated nature of TV, film, video games and online media. Its advisory board of experts has been carefully chosen to guide it through its development. Given limited resources EWA’s focus has so far been on the film sector, but with increased support we hope to successfully extend the network’s reach into the other sectors in the future. 

4. Why cover different sectors rather than focusing on films?

In many ways to be truly effective EWA would have to tackle inequality in many more sectors than just the audiovisual arena. A UK study: http://www.countingwomenin.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Sex-and-Power-2013-FINALv2.-pdf.pdf  showed just how excluded women are throughout most positions of power in UK society and it also showed that in this time of economic crisis things are getting worse and not better.

As Creative Europe has done in its recently released policy report, bringing film, tv, online media and video games together under one grouping is to be aware of the new changes in all of these industries, which will bring them closer together than ever especially as information technology and cross media platforms become ever more prevalent. These new trends are already here and to be competitive in the marketplace EWA is aware that keeping in line with them is vital.

5. What difference can EWA really make?

As the saying goes "Be the change you want to see". EWA is doing just that and the overwhelming support it has received from high-level professionals indicates that it is on the right path. 

EWA is working hard to create a solid foundation for the future - so that our children, their children and future generations, don’t even have to think about underrepresentation or feel that as a girl only some pathways are open to them and that their only worth is based on appearance.

In difficult economic times, creating such a solid base is essential to avoid falling at the first tremour. When cuts are made equality is an easy area from which to remove support and the crisis in Europe has led to increasing female unemployment across the board in particular... as the above-cited report indicates. EWA is working to have lasting impact and  its goals are to have a long-term presence.

By involving film funds, financiers, industry partners, other networks, decision-makers, distributors,  European institutions, professionals from 47 countries and a wide range of backgrounds EWA is creating a solid base from which it can launch a multi-pronged attack on inequality in the audiovisual sector. 

It can then draw on a range of strategies (new guidelines out of research, working with film schools, organising innovative cross media training using NITs and cross media forums and a whole host of other events) to ensure that gender inequality becomes everybody’s problem and confronting it an essential solution for all.

6. Why is the network open to men?

Gender inequality is a problem which affects the whole of society, not just one half of it. Finding solutions to this problem will only happen if we all work together.  

7. Who sponsors our work?

EWA has received financial support for which it is extremely grateful from:

- the Swedish Film Institute;

- the Norwegian Film Institute;

- the Dutch Film Fund; and 

- in 2010 from ICAA and the Spanish government. 

The team is for the moment made up of volunteers whose strong commitment has helped the network develop so quickly in 2013, including delivering a first-rate training course.

EWA would also like to thank the following for their in-kind support:

- the Croatian Audiovisal Centre (HAVC), 

- the Hungarian Cultural Centre of Berlin,

- SGAE Barcelona,

as well as the following brands:

- Lio de Faldas, 

- Serena Whitehaven, 

- Freixenet, 

- MyHair (Barcelona),

-  Veneno en la Piel (Barcelona).

However, this is just the very start. In order to ensure that more events can take place, forums, screenings, cross-media events, pitch labs, developing guidelines for film schools, raising money for scholarships for training courses and support for targeted initiatives that could ensure that more audiovisual projects are made jointly - we need your help!

If you would like to sponsor us rest assured that this money will be reinvested in ensuring that more female audiovisual projects are made, seen and distributed. Our aim is clear - to ensure that women’s stories are told and to strive for equal employment opportunities and a society in which gender equality is a reality. If these issues matter to you and you’d like to make a donation please click on the link at the top of the page. THANK YOU!!

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