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The Briefing

Irish Film Industry and Boardroom in Need of Gender Rebalance

by Aiken PR

08/03/2019

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Women continue to be underrepresented in Ireland’s burgeoning film industry with only 36% of funding decisions granted to women directors in 2018 according to Dr. Annie Doona, Chair of Screen Ireland since 2017.

Dr Doona who is also President at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire, one of only two female Presidents in Higher Education was speaking at an ACCA event to celebrate International Women’s Day. At the event she highlighted the continuing challenges within the film industry with women globally achieving only 22% of on screen dialogue, compared with 78% for men. The industry remains reflective of wider society and draws parallels with the Irish financial sector which has similarly low figures for female CEOs in Ireland’s boardrooms. In 2018 for example, only 16% of new CEOs were female according to the most recent figures released by the Central Bank.

“Female representation in the industry is a worldwide issue and as we in Ireland seek to shape a growing and successful sector, equality of gender representation must be integral to that strategy,” she said. “An analysis of global film awards between 1990 and 2018 found that in 89% of films, men make up the majority of the senior roles within the film with only 6% of films reflecting the opposite. Additionally, a report commissioned by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and

Journalism, surveyed 1,100 films made in the last 11 years, and found that just 4% were directed by women.  Within such a creative industry, these are unacceptable statistics and they need to change”

To tackle this Dr. Annie Doona highlighted the proactive work being done by Screen Ireland that she recommended be mirrored in Irish boardrooms if society is serious in tackling gender inequality. She continued, “Four years ago Screen Ireland set up a fund aimed at female stories, for female directors and female writers. We wanted to find talented Irish women who were telling stories about women for women and it is something we remain extremely passionate about. Proactive work of this nature is a critical aspect of any attempts at redressing the gender inequalities in society and is proven to work.”

Dr. Doona highlighted that although the percentage of funding decisions remains low and disappointing for women at 36%, it is worth noting that it in fact represents a 16% rise from 2017 and signifies a growing presence of talented female directors and writers in the Irish film industry. Equally the 16% of new female CEOs is a rise from 2016 figures which showed 12% of new CEOs being female.

Caitriona Allis, Head of ACCA Ireland, said, “As an organisation ACCA is committed to providing flexible, transferable skills that caters for the future workplace in Ireland and across the world. Key within that approach is ensuring ACCA’s qualifications, personal development courses, support networks and career opportunities embrace gender diversity. As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we are committed to building upon our very positive gender balance in Ireland with 47% of our members and 51% of our current student base are now female.

Dera McLoughlin, Consulting Partner at Mazars, Ireland who sponsored the event said: “This year will see significant progress on the issue of gender equality in the workplace. In Ireland, we will see the introduction of gender pay reporting which seeks to create greater transparency and awareness of the issue so that factors involved can be more readily addressed. This will result in more money flowing not only to women but, more broadly, through the entire economy as women choose to stay economically active at higher levels of the workforce.”