What does IWD mean today?
(Pictured L-R: Kathryn Ferguson, Olivia Altavilla, Aimee-Lee Xu Hsien & Amber Mealing, Anna Wolf, Cynthia Wade, Molly Schiot and Kristin Dehnert)
By Tanya Spencer, Victoria Conners and Noelle Jones, co-owners, The Producers.
It’s hard to contextualise the need for a day to reflect on women’s inequality when it’s so glaringly obvious the other 364 days of the year. But the reality is, it’s all our responsibility to actively make our lives, workplaces and world a more equitable place. To take necessary steps, in any form to raise the profiles, wages, health and safety for people that make up half the population.
As producers, we believe it’s our responsibility to diversity this industry as best and as much as we can, even if that is yes, through a media release promoting the talent, work and experiences of people who have been (and still are) overlooked comparatively to their male-counterparts— a study by the DGA’s noted: of the 896 individual directors hired to work in the 2021-22 season 34% were women and 66% were men.
Here’s what some of our directors had to say on the subject when asked:
“I feel really grateful to be working during a long-overdue ‘diversity epoch’. Not just across gender equity, but also being more inclusive across the race, sexuality, gender, physical and neurodiversity spectrum. There is a LONG way to go to change ingrained mindsets. I look forward to the day that making a concerted effort to include “female directors” in pitches and briefs isn’t even a thing we think about.” – Aimée-Lee Xu Hsein
“ I definitely notice a different attitude towards myself as a female/queer director. I believe that amongst men working within the film industry there needs to be more of a conscious change in behaviour towards women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community…I long for the day that there are conferences held within companies that teach men how to change their behaviour, rather than teaching women how to work within a male-dominated industry.” – Amber Mealing
“I’ve had a lot of women pave the way for me…Every day I get to look at three women, absolutely killing it. But it’s not just about having brilliant role models; they fiercely care about helping women succeed, so that’s a very lucky place to be. They’ve fostered my career from the ground up and have trusted my ability even when I didn’t have the portfolio of work to prove it.” – Olivia Altavilla
“For me, it’s important to be at at a female owned and led production company because my EP inherently knows the heartbreak of a miscarriage, the exhaustion of being a first time mom, the understanding to allow a paediatrician visit to be more important, than a meeting that can easily get rescheduled, the empathy of having a challenging day.” – Molly Schiot
“I do believe there are deep systemic issues in our industry, but I also very much believe in focusing on what I have control over, which is the work that I make and put out into the world.” – Anna Wolf
Regardless of your personal opinion on International Women’s Day, we hope it makes you look around at the very least and think: how can I do better, for myself, for others, for that little girl growing up somewhere, wondering if she’ll make it.
For International Women’s Day, we have created a website showcasing the wonderful work that these women have created – https://www.theproducersiwd.com.au/