Only 14% of women working in the film industry have children. Hope Dickson Leach, panellist for TWU16’s ‘Parental Guidance‘, explains why the current situation for parents and carers in the creative industries needs a radical shift.
One of the hardest things about creating change is having the patience to watch it take hold. Social change comes about as a result of hearts and minds becoming enlightened, systems changing in response, and stakeholders buying into a new mode of operating.
This doesn’t happen quickly, or painlessly. It needs people to fight for it, and to keep fighting. Campaigning for change for parents and carers is incredibly difficult in this regard. As new parents with lives turned upside down, we become radicalised. I certainly did.
“This is systematic sexism!” we cry, seeing our careers get tossed away with the dirty nappies (women are statistically far more likely to lose employment over becoming parents than men).
“Civil society is not built for social responsibilities and yet relies entirely on them!’ we yell, over-caffeinated and under-rested.
But parents and carers have little time for luxuries like fighting inequality. We need support from organisations that will take on the fight, while we are able to concentrate on managing our sleep deficits and our ever-evolving challenges.
This week, the annual This Way Up film exhibition conference will discuss the apparent bias against those working within the film industry and trying to raise a family.
Two major pieces of new research have clearly outlined how the film industry’s default setting is to ignore caring needs, and that parenting is a proven restriction to career progression.
What we learned from these reports is pretty staggering.
Women were 75% more likely than men to cite parental responsibilities as a career barrier in the creative industries; 79% of respondents reported that their career felt a negative impact from their parenting and caring responsibilities.
But the shocking final blow is that, unlike other industries, where 74% of working women have children, only 14% of women working in film have children.