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Invitation to Participate in the Development of Gender Equality Policy for the Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission

October 23, 2019

An invitation to participate in the development of gender equality policy for the Kwazlu-Natal Film Commission

1. Communication purpose

The purpose of this communication is to utilize the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission’s (KZNFC) website and social medial platforms to allow film industry stakeholders and any other interested party to give input into the development of a gender equality policy for the film industry of KwaZulu-Natal. This intervention has been designed to ensure wide consultation in the development of this policy, and its envisaged ancillary monitoring, evaluation and assessment tools.

2. Background

Women the world over face stark disparities in access to healthcare and education, and in economic and political participation (World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report, 2018). Despite the adoption of international conventions, country legislation and action plans, and an increase in awareness and reporting on such measures, gender inequality, discrimination, sexual harassment and gender-based violence (GBV) persist in public and private spaces, and the film industry is no exception. A report by the Geena Davis Institute on gender in the media (2014) reveals that the percentage of female speaking characters in top grossing films has not meaningfully changed over roughly half a century. Katsarova (2017:1) reminds us that the sexual assault allegations brought against Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein laid bare the painful reality for scores of women working in the film industry around the world.

Katsarova’s findings further indicate that in the film industry, women are over-represented in professions traditionally considered the domain of women, such as in costume design and editing, and underrepresented in more technical sectors traditionally dominated by men, such as in sound, music and image. In South Africa, the report by Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT) launched at the Durban Film Festival in 2017 reveals an industry in crisis, with 78% of women working in film and TV reporting that they suffer discrimination because of their gender. In addition, the Employment Equity Commission’s annual reports reveal an unacceptably slow pace of gender transformation in the workplace, under-representation of women in positions of leadership, ongoing gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, and inadequate response from both public and private sector stakeholders in developing and implementing appropriate policies, awareness measures and reporting mechanisms to address this.

The #MeToo campaign, which spilled over into South African social media spaces, followed by #Total Shutdown protest action by young women, resulted in demands being levelled at President Ramaphosa to take bold steps to end violence against women. Together with the recent spate of reported instances of rape, abduction and murder of young women and evidence of shocking instances of sexual harassment and sexual violence at our institutions of higher learning, leaders across South Africa are being called upon to implement policies and programmes to prevent and respond to instances of gender-based violence (GBV).

Accordingly, the KZNFC has resolved to engage as a matter of urgency with stakeholders in the film industry in this province and other relevant institutions and structures, to address gender discrimination and GBV in this sector. The envisaged gender equality policy and slate of implementation, monitoring and reporting mechanisms are designed to promote and support the attainment of gender equality in this sector by providing a policy framework to eradicate gender discrimination. The policy framework will serve to guide the KZNFC in its prevention, awareness and response interventions, including mechanisms to facilitate reporting and accountability for instances of discrimination.

3. Mandate of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission

The development of the envisaged gender equality policy derives from the mandate of the KZNFC. The KZNFC was established under the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission Act, 2010, to promote the film industry in the province, and is tasked to achieve the following objectives:-

  • To promote and market the province as a global destination for film production
  • To develop, promote and market, locally and internationally, the film industry in the province
  • To facilitate investment in the film industry in the province
  • To provide and encourage the provision of opportunities for persons, especially from disadvantaged communities, to enter and participate in the film industry in the province;
  • To address historical imbalances in the infrastructure and the distribution of skills and resources in the film industry in the province; and
  • To contribute to an enabling environment for job creation in the film industry in the province

4. Development of the Gender Equality Policy

The KZNFC has resolved to develop a gender equality policy for the film industry in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, to develop and promote gender equality in the industry, and address instances of gender discrimination. The envisaged policy will further serve to ensure that gender equality is promoted through the implementation of all policies and programmes of the KZNFC.
To ensure that the gender equality policy is substantive and implementable the following tools and documents will be developed
o An implementation plan for the gender equality policy
o Guidelines for the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation plan
o Assessment tools

5. Policy considerations

It is envisaged that gender equality policy measures should include, but not be limited to, measures to address the following aspects:-

  • Under-representation of women in all sectors within the film industry, and in leadership positions across these sectors
  • Mainstreaming of gender equality considerations in all KZNFC policies and programmes, including training, distribution, exhibition, festival and audience support, as well as media literacy initiatives
  • Gender equality awareness among stakeholders in the industry, including initiatives to promote debate on women’s marginalisation and image misrepresentation in the media, aimed in particular at investors, producers and distributors
  • Gender parity in funding for all schemes
  • Promote visibility for works by female directors

All vested and interested parties are accordingly invited to participate in the development of this gender equality policy framework and identify issues for inclusion. The KZNFC particularly seeks input and recommendations on how best such gender equality policy can be implemented, monitored and evaluated. The KZNFC has designed additional measures to engage with stakeholders in this sector on emerging draft policy recommendations.

6. Contact details
Stakeholders are invited to send their input or policy proposals by 07 November 2019 to the KZNFC Chief Operations Officer, utilizing the following email: – PortiaN@kwazulunatalfilm.co.za or utilize the KZNFC social media platforms.

Last modified: October 23, 2019

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