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Ground-Breaking Report Identifies Gender (IN)Equality in the Canadian Film & Television Production Industry

National Study Reveals Employment Facts AND Proposes Action Plan

TORONTO – The report Focus on Women 2013 released today concludes that women are underrepresented at nearly all levels of production in Canada’s film and television industry. This is the first report from Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen (CUES) and the first comprehensive study of its kind. It reviews extensive industry statistics and data collected from unions representing workers in front of and behind the camera – from production coordinators, grips, camera technicians and hairstylists to writers, directors and actors.

“Focus on Women 2013 is ground breaking on many levels,” said Dr. Amanda Coles, the report’s author. “It’s the first comprehensive, gender-based analysis of the screen industry workforce. Second, it shows without question that there is a serious gender-gap in our industry. And finally, it’s a marker against which we can measure future success… because the challenge now is to make change.”

The CUES Report examines industry statistics, income and employment data of women at all levels of the screen-based production industry. It also makes several suggestions for action, including encouraging greater sharing of gender based data and developing a gender equality checklist for production. Key findings include:

  • the division of labour in the industry is highly gendered with women concentrated in areas that are traditionally considered to be ‘women’s work’ such as hair, makeup and wardrobe, script supervision, publicity and office and administrative jobs;
  • technical positions are overwhelmingly male dominated;
  • gender balance is more common in entry level positions within departments, but men tend to progress to ‘decision making levels’ and income brackets at higher rates than women; and
  • female performers have fewer work opportunities than their male counterparts, earn considerably less and men’s careers last longer.

“What is particularly striking is the lack of equality in those key creative positions that define Canadian content,” said ACTRA National President Ferne Downey, one of CUES founders. “We know that a gender imbalance behind the screen shapes the stories we see on the screen. It’s incumbent on our industry to take action to change this employment imbalance.”

Focus on Women 2013 is the product of the efforts of representatives from industry guilds and unions including ACTRA, DGC, IATSE Locals 411, 514, 667, 669, 849, 873 and 891, NABET 700 – CEP, UdA and WGC working in collaboration with Rina Fraticelli of Women in View and Canadian academic, Dr. Amanda Coles of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT). The group – which came to be known as CUES — first came together in 2012 with an aim to collect and analyze data in order to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing women in the screen-based production industry, and to develop recommendations and tools to help increase the number of women at all levels of production.


Contacts: Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, ACTRA, tel: 416.644.1519,

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