Recently, the 25th Annual Gemini Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys), which honours the best in Canadian television in Program, Performance, and Craft categories, concluded its celebration with a black-tie Broadcast Gala at Toronto’s historic Winter Garden Theatre. 19 awards were presented during the televised event hosted by Cory Monteith of Glee fame, including those for Best Comedy Program or Series and Best Dramatic Series. Over the course of several award events, a total of 107 Geminis were awarded.
One of the mandates of Please Adjust Your Set is to share information that affects women in the Television and Film industry in Canada, so we were curious to take a closer look at the gender breakdown within the craft categories at this Silver Anniversary awards ceremony. How far have women come in gaining gender equity in the the Canadian television industry in the quarter century since the Gemini Awards were first established?
The results were pretty disappointing but not really surprising based on some of the stats we’ve been tracking this year. In general what we’re finding is that rather than gaining ground, women in the industry have actually lost some foot-holds over the past few years. As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, it’s critical to both recognize our achievements, and note where more work needs to be done to advance the issue of gender equity.
For this survey we looked exclusively at the gender breakdown within the Craft Category which includes awards like Best Photography, Best Writing, and Best Direction. We looked at these numbers when the nominees were announced, and again after all the winners were confirmed. The reason we look at these numbers specifically is because they reflect the overall gender equity within the industry off screen.
In total, there were 45 Geminis awarded in the different categories that fall under the Craft heading. Out of those 45 different awards, women won in only 10 out of 45 categories, accounting for just 22% of the awards. Interestingly, only 5 of the awards (or 11%) had no male winner. Because there are sometimes multiple winners within a sub-category (such as two directors on the same film) the final percentage of female winners within the craft category at this years Gemini Awards was only 18.75%.
On the heals of the Kathryn Bigelow Oscar win, I wanted to look more closely at the Best Achievement in Direction category: How are women directors faring in Canada? Out of the 13 awards given out in the Director category, 13.3% of the winners were female, while 86.7% were male. Put another way, out of 13 Best Director awards given out at the Gemini Awards this year, 11 had no female winner, while 100% of them had a male winner.
The number sound bad, what what’s the overall implication?
The facts are that while women represent about 40% of film students in Canada, they represent only 32% of participants in the film and television industry labour force. In a study conducted of various funding agencies in Canada from 2002-2007, only 10% of the Canadian Television Fund budget was granted to women.One of the popular arguments made to justify inequity in the industry, that “women work less”, can be refuted by a wide range of stats, but one that I find interesting is that of 182 respondents, 69 per cent of women reported having to supplement their film career by taking other work. Clearly women don’t work less in the film and television industry because they lack a work ethic! 69% of women continue to invest in their film career despite the fact that it doesn’t provide a sustainable income. I think that’s pretty remarkable.
Please Adjust Your Set is a web site originally developed as part of a research project by the BC Institute of Film Professionals Women’s Initiative. The website offers individuals in the film and television industry as well as professional organizations, associations and agencies a central place to find research data, share information, strategies, successes and challenges around issues and topics that impact women in the film industry.