European Film Industry Adopts Gender Equality Declaration

Emma Watson Uruguay Speech - H 2014
AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico

Europe pledges to back efforts to promote women's access to film funding and improve their on-screen representation.

Europe has weighed in on the issue of gender disparity in the film industry, adopting a declaration calling for policies to increase female representation at all levels, in front of and behind the camera.

The declaration, adopted at a conference on gender issues held during the Sarajevo Film Festival, states that “women are considerably underrepresented in key job roles in the film industry” and that a true democracy “must make full use of the skills, talents and creativity of women and men alike.”

Representatives from European ministries of culture as well as film funds from across the continent agreed to push for policies to help correct the gender imbalance in Europe's film and TV industries.

Gender inequality has been a hot topic in Hollywood as well this year, with actors including Patricia Arquette, Meryl Steep and Emma Watson stepping up to make their voices heard on the issue. This has resulted in movements like the red carpet #AskHerMore campaign and Watson's hashtag #HeForShe, which calls on men to publicly support gender equality.

The European film industry, however, being largely publicly funded, can take more direct action to address gender imbalance. Among the actions called for in the declaration are adopting equality policies to improve women's access to European public film funding, appointing more women to decision-making posts within the industry, and doing more to enhance the visibility and recognition of female filmmakers.

The declaration will also encourage EU member states to produce gender-based statistics and analyze the causes of the marginalization of women in the industry.

While the declaration is an encouraging sign, it is not the first time Europe has pledged to level the playing field for women in the film industry. A similar declaration, adopted in Madrid in 2008, called for making “gender equality a reality.” But female directors and producers still account for just a fifth or less of movies made in Europe every year.

Twitter: @sroxborough