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New stats make bad reading for creative women

Women 5 times more likely to leave jobs in creative industries, says Skillset

Kathryn Bigelow

Here at BEV we’re all about championing women who take the creative lead in filmmaking. Since we launched the festival in 2005 we’ve shown hundreds of fantastic features, documentaries and short films all created by women, not to mention music videos, art installations, video games and the odd commissioned live music performance – all of which showcase and celebrate the amazing talent of creative women working in the UK.

Despite the breadth and quality of work that we screen, every year we’re amazed that there are still so few women taking the creative lead in film. Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar win last March brought it all home. As the first women to ever with the ‘Best Director’ award, Barbara Streisand wasn’t joking when she announced that “the time has come”.

But over here in the UK, new statistics revealed by Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the UK’s creative industries, show that more and more women are dropping out of the TV and film industry. In fact, over 5000 women have left the industry since 2006, compared to 750 men. Of those that do stay, they are overall more qualified and paid less than their male counterparts. They are also younger, with 75% of men in the UK’s film and TV industries aged 35 or over compared to 52% of women.

What does this mean for the future of UK film and TV? Well we’re probably less likely to produce a Kathryn Bigelow if so many women are dropping out. But why does it matter that there are fewer women working in the UK’s creative media? Perhaps things like equal representation of women on our TV screens, realistic and positive role models for our future generations, a balanced representation of our society. All these things are important and the more women leaving our industry at a young age and the fewer women working in senior management and creative roles the worse it will be for all of us.

BEV’s Tamsyn Dent has been funded by Skillset to look into this issue as part of her PhD research. If you have a story or issue that you would like to share with her please contact her by email:

And if you need inspiration on the fantastic work that women in film produce, don’t forget to keep up to date with all the work we’re doing at BEV and catch our next festival in March 2011!


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