Directors UK is calling for broadcasters to commit 0.25 per cent of their commissioning spend for all programme making to fund career development and industry access schemes to close the gender gap, in response to research revealing a drop in the number of women directors working in UK television.
The recommendation comes from a report from Directors UK which looks at gender inequality in directorial roles across the four main UK broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5). The research found:
The report revealed that despite the publication of the broadcasters’ diversity and inclusion strategies and the introduction of equality monitoring through Project Diamond, run by the Creative Diversity Network, the gender gap increased across all four channels. Channel 4 saw a 5.4 percentage point decline in the number of episodes directed by women between 2013 and 2016, while Channel 5 experienced a 2.9 percentage point drop. In the same period, BBC and ITV saw a 1.8 and 1.5 percentage point decline respectively.
Furthermore, following the launch of Directors UK’s first report in 2014, the professional association began working with broadcasters to place women directors in on-set career development placements within Continuing Drama (soaps). The latest research reveals that, since then, Continuing Drama has experienced a 7.3 percentage point increase.
These results suggest that positive interventions do help to address inequality and, as a result, Directors UK is calling for wider-reaching placement schemes to be implemented across all genres of programme making.
Directors UK is now proposing a number of recommendations within the report to help improve equality, transparency and accountability:
Directors UK Board member and factual director, Toral Dixit (Dispatches, World’s Greatest Bridges, What do Artists Do All Day, Mammoth – Back from the Dead), commented: “It is not acceptable that women make up one third of working directors in the UK but only direct one in four television programmes. To generate a shift towards gender equality, broadcasters must embrace positive interventions across all genres and deliver fair and transparent hiring practices for both freelancers and staff. Targets must be set and tracked through mandatory monitoring so successes can be built on and replicated across the industry.”
Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns added: “While the overall decline is very disappointing, results in Continuing Drama show that collaborative interventions made in partnership with broadcasters and production partners do work to unlock new opportunities for women directors by developing skills and building expertise. These workplace initiatives must now become more widely available, so we are asking broadcasters to commit 0.25 per cent of their commissioning spend across all programmes to fund industry access and career development schemes for underrepresented groups.”