The invisible majority… behind the screen!
Montreal, March 5th, 2008 — The group Réalisatrices Équitables* released today the results of a study entitled La Place des réalisatrices dans le financement public du cinéma et de la télévision au Québec (2002-2007) [The Status of women directors with respect to public funding for film and television in Quebec (2002-2007), which was produced with the support of L’Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ) and in collaboration with UQAM’s Institut de recherches et d’études féministes.
One would have thought that since the women’s liberation movement and the implementation of equality legislation, women had long ago conquered every frontier, however, as filmmaker and president of Réalisatrices Équitables, Marquise Lepage, states, ”I belonged to that group of happy, naïve optimists… When I learned of the realities faced by the majority of this country’s women filmmakers, I fell from my small cloud.”
Réalisatrices Équitables was amazed to discover that although women account for 50.5% of the population and 43-45% of the students in film and video programmes, women filmmakers receive only 10%, 11% and 14% of the production budgets given out by the Canadian Television Fund, Telefilm Canada and SODEC respectively!
Sophie Bissonnette summarized the study’s highlights: ”There are definite obstacles hindering women filmmakers’ full participation; one can clearly speak of systemic discrimination. If the fact that there are a large number of women studying film and television clearly indicates their substantive interest in these medias, what then are the barriers in the workplace that keep women directors from obtaining their fair share of public funding and that, equally, deprive audiences of women’s worldviews? ”
How does a society move from a formal to a substantive equality? Réalisatrices Équitables is asking government decision-makers to confirm their commitment to gender equity by fast-tracking crucial action measures. Its spokeswomen are hoping to meet with Ministers Josée Verner (Canadian Heritage) and Christine St-Pierre, (Culture, Communications et Condition féminine), and with leaders of the major Quebec and Canadian audiovisual institutions in order to extend their offer of collaboration in the hopes of working towards reaching this goal.