Women directors come together to tackle industry issues

Beryl Richards, DUK Board Member updates us on the first meeting of our female directors group.

Last week the women on the DUK board got together to discuss our concerns about women directors working in the industry. It was great to sit in the same room with six other working women directors from both factual/documentary and drama and discuss what’s going on out there and what to do about it. The room was buzzing with lots of ideas!

Like me, my drama colleagues were worried that it seems like there are no more women directors working in drama than there were 20 years ago. In factual there are more, but there’s a big drop off after the age of 35.

There are some worrying figures out there, such as a recent study out of University of California showing the percentage of women directing features has fallen from 9% to 5% in the last 10 years.

We’ve also had lots of great feedback from our women members on email about what’s happening to them. From the emails sent to us it struck all of us how isolating it can be to face these issues alone.

What we are going to do next is some initial research to look at how many women are working as directors in the different sectors and genres of television and film. Firstly we are going to research our own Directors UK data to show where women are working, and augment this information with other published research. Once we know what we are dealing with, we can work out strategies to respond. Other plans include events to celebrate the work of women filmmakers in both TV and film, and helping support women through role models, mentoring and training.

Soon we are going to hold a public meeting that we urge you all to attend, so we can share and air some of what is going on out there. And please do write to us before then to add your voice by emailing Victoria on vmorris@directors.uk.com – all information will be treated confidentially.

Beryl Richards