International Women’s Day (IWD) happens every year on March 8. It is a globally recognised day that celebrates the achievements of women and aims to highlight and accelerate the need for women’s equality.
For several years now International Women’s Day has been raising awareness with their ‘call to action’ hashtags. This year the theme is #BreakTheBias and there are several pledges that you can commit to as part of this theme, such as challenging gender stereotypes or pledging to forge positive visibility of women. This got us asking ourselves, how can we as a company contribute and celebrate women’s achievements in our industry?
At Southpoint Films we are a small team of three, two of which are women. Many of our freelance video crew are women and a large percentage of our amazing clients are women. But what more can we do?
What if we took the time to highlight and celebrate women that have shaped our industry and who are working hard to be heard and gain recognition. Maybe along the way, we might inspire women and girls to pursue a career in film and television production so that one day we might achieve gender parity in our exciting industry? So while it’s difficult to narrow our heroines down to just a few, here are a couple of women from our industry, past and present, that we find particularly inspiring.
Margaret Booth started her career as a negative cutter in 1915. This was a time when women were often found in the editing room because patching films was seen as tedious and therefore fell to women to do. In 1926 she started working with MGM studios and from 1939 – 1968 she held the position of supervising editor. The term ‘film editor’ was coined in this time to describe her work. In 1935 she received an Oscar nomination for her work on Mutiny On The Bounty, although she didn’t win it. However, in 1977 she received an Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to the art of film editing in the motion picture industry. Margaret Booth was a pioneer in the industry and a true inspiration to female editors both then and now.
Amma Asante is a multi-award winning British screenwriter and director who was awarded an MBE in 2017. Interestingly she is also a former actress and appeared in British TV favourites including Grange Hill, The Bill and Birds of Feather. One of the things that makes her such an inspiration though is that she won a BAFTA for her film A Way of Life (2004), making her the first female Black director to win a BAFTA Film Award for writing and directing a feature film. If that wasn’t enough, she also became the first Black director to open the BFI London Film Festival with the premiere of her film A United Kingdom (2016).
Women In Film and Television (UK)
Ok, so this one isn’t just about one specific woman but rather a collaboration of women who came together to form an organisation to inspire and empower women in the creative industry. Women In Film and Television (WFTV) is a UK-based membership organisation for women working in creative media. They organise workshops, events and mentoring to help women progress in their careers. Throughout the past 30 years, they have recognised women in the industry through the annual WFTV Awards.
Greta Gerwig is an American actress and filmmaker whose early career was spent working on and appearing in independent ‘mumblecore’ films. In 2017 she wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical teen film Lady Bird which earned her Academy Award nominations for Best Director (which was only the 5th time a woman had been nominated in the category) and Best Original Screenplay. In 2019 she directed Little Women which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her latest project, currently in production, is perhaps the most intriguing of all though. She has co-written and will be directing Barbie, a big-screen adaptation of the iconic doll’s story which is due to start filming in 2022.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an English actress, writer and producer. She is best known for creating, writing and starring in BBC sitcom Fleabag for which she won a British Academy Television Award, three Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards! She was also showrunner, head writer and executive producer for the highly acclaimed first series of Killing Eve. Both Fleabag and Killing Eve have been named among the 100 greatest television series of the 21st century by The Guardian. In addition to appearing in many other tv shows and films, she also starred as the droid L3-37 in the Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story. She also co-wrote the screenplay of the James Bond film No Time To Die. This woman is a true powerhouse in film and television and a testament to what women can achieve in the industry.
There are of course many, many other women who deserve recognition for their work. There are countless others who are experiencing obstacles due to gender bias in the industry. While it may seem like progress is too slow at times, we are moving towards a world that expects equality and acknowledges its absence within society. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go and a lot of education that needs to be done along the way. It’s not a men-vs-women situation, nor is it an issue that only women need to worry about. We can all play a role in working towards gender balance.
Will you help break the bias?
Cross your arms to show solidarity. Strike the International Women’s Day pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #BreakTheBias #IWD2022.
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