17 Aug 2015

A declaration was adopted at the high-level conference “Women in today’s film industry: gender issues. Can we do better?”, held in Sarajevo on August 14th, calling for policies to counter the gender imbalance in the European audiovisual industry.

The conference was organised under the auspices of the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in collaboration with the Bosnian ministries of Civil Affairs and Foreign Affairs as well as with the Sarajevo Film Festival and with content support from the Eurimages film fund.

It was attended by representatives from ministries of culture and film funds from across Europe as well as national and pan-European networks, including the European Women’s Audiovisual Network and FERA member Directors UK.

A number of expert speakers from organisations case studies and examples of best practice from their respective countries.

At the end of the conference, a declaration which emphasizes that “a true democracy must make full use of the skills, talents and creativity of women and men alike“, was adopted; the conference declaration also calls on the Council of Europe to encourage its member states to implement policies to reduce gender imbalance in the European audiovisual industry.

The conference declaration also proposes that a number of activities be carried out through the Eurimages fund, including to:

– encourage member states to produce gender-based statistics and analyse the causes of the marginalisation of women;

– encourage member states to adopt equality policies aimed at improving the access to public funding for women;

– develop measures for improving gender balance in decision-making posts in the industry;

– enhance the visibility of female filmmakers;

– raise awareness through conferences, publishing studies collecting and disseminating examples of best practice;

– encourage film-makers to be more sensitive to on-screen female representation

“Whilst the declaration is not yet legally binding; it is a sort of soft law, it will offer us a solid basis in many countries and a formulation of strategies in the audiovisual/cinema sector” according to Sanja Ravlic, President of the Eurimages Gender Equality Study Group and EWA Network ambassador for Croatia.

“When we ask women directors or producers if gender inequality is an issue in their countries, they usually say there is no problem, only when they look at the numbers they do realise it really is a problem.” Isabel Castro, deputy executive director of Eurimages and EWA Network advisor reported.

The declaration will also be discussed at a high-level meeting involving representatives of 47 governments. It is hoped that they will approve preparations for further work in the area, which would impact on how 47 countries manage their public funding for film with gender equality firmly in mind.

You can read the full text here.

More information on Eurimages and gender equality here.