France committed to Gender Equality

Véronique Le Bris
Véronique Le Bris

France committed to Gender Equality in the film industry

The French Minister of Culture announces six first measures for more gender equality in the film industry.


In France, the debate on parity between men and women in the audiovisual seemed to be badly engaged. First there was denial, followed by a murderous open letter signed by Catherine Deneuve (The Guardian) and a slower awareness than elsewhere.

However, the debate did lead to the creation of a collective of professionals under the name of 50/50x2020. Its first action has been to mobilize the troops at the Cannes Film Festival, by organizing a successful round table and the signing of a Charter which requires festival directors to make their selection committees public and gender equal. Cannes, Annecy, Locarno, Venice, Toronto, and now San Sebastian have signed.

From September 18 to 20, 2018, the Conference on Parity, Equality and Diversity in Cinema, organized jointly by the 50/50x2020 Collective and the CNC took place. The program included three mornings of discussions on topics as varied as:

  • Gender stereotypes and freedom of creation
  • Professional leverage and image education
  • Accelerating change

Intellectually rich, would these workshops turn out to be simple discussions, with certainly some interesting experience-sharing but without any specific solutions?

Finally some measures

Not at all. The surprise was total when Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture overseeing the CNC, took the floor to conclude the meetings, announcing six shock measures with immediate effect.

"Do not let calm come back after the storm, as if nothing had happened. As if Weinstein had never existed. As if there was only him. As if there was only that ... " she said at the beginning of her speech. "The only way to avoid that is to act ... Make commitments. Hold them.

Here are the six measures that Françoise Nyssen announced:

1) The most important measure is the creation of a bonus of 15% of CNC support for films that include as many women as men in the management positions of their film crew. An 8 point scale will be put in place to report on the presence of women in key positions. The bonus will be opened in 2019 and given to ant selected project reaching 4 of these 8 points. "Today, less than one in six films would be eligible," she adds. “This figure coerces us to act.” This system will disappear once the parity is secured.

2) Quantifying these inequalities that "some still contest," said Francoise Nyssen, making gender statistics mandatory (including the composition of teams and the salaries) from the approval of the films,

3) Linking all film companies in France to "a charter of good practices in favor of equality" which covers access to responsibilities, salaries, the fight against harassment... The text will be ready in early 2019.

4) Integrating this charter in the agreements between the CNC and the regions as from 2019, establishing parity in the allocation commissions of the aids, gendered data and strengthening the support towards women directors.

5) Increasing the share of women's films in restoration and digitization programs. Currently, this concerns only 7% of applications filed with the CNC.

6) Strengthening the presence of women's films in picture education programs and teacher training in this area. Empowering girls to say: "tomorrow, this could be me".

The Minister of Culture also announced the launch of three other projects in 2019:

  • Improving the visibility of films made by women in cinemas through incentives for distribution and promotion,
  • Tackling gender equality in the audiovisual production sector
  • Conducting a broader reflection on diversity, which goes beyond gender equality.

The movement is now launched. And that's obviously the first good news.