The Brisbane Club
International Women’s Day with Tracey Vieira
International Women’s Day with guest speaker, CEO of Screen Queensland, Tracey Vieira
The International Women’s Day lunch was a wonderful event with CEO of Screen Queensland, Tracey Vieria speaking about her story to success. She also spoke about women in the screen industry and how they impact young women in everyday life, especially to set an example for the next generation of strong women. Tracey also spoke about the ‘Be Bold For Change’ movement. A big thank you to Dale Spender who spoke on behalf of the incredible Second Chance Programme Fundraising Group who raise money for homeless women.
Here is a snippet of Tracey's moving speech at the successful International Women's Day on the 8th March 2017.
Where did all the girls go?
Storytelling is what connects us to our humanity. It is what links us to our past, and provides a glimpse into our future.
And there has never been in my opinion a more important time than now to ensure our screens tell stories that challenge our thinking, opens our eyes and ignites us into collective action to make this world a better place.
There is a powerful movement to see more gender equity on boards, in senior roles, in STEM and across many industries and the screen industry is equally failing at equality (The disparity is most notable in traditional film with just 32% of women working as producers, 23% as writers and only 16% as directors as reported by Screen Australia in 2015). And perhaps for us, we have a bigger responsibility than just in jobs and pay as the influence of screen content on behaviors is well documented.
Given many children engage in screen content from very early in their lives, consider this.
When black boys, white girls, and black girls watch television their self-esteem goes down and the more they watch the lower it goes. When white boys watch television, their self-esteem goes up.
The research done across 396 communities in the US by Nicole Martins and Kristen Harrison shows that girls appear to be influenced by one-dimensional, sexualized depictions of women, while black boys may be disturbed by their TV counterparts, who are often criminalized or shown as hoodlums and buffoons. She adds that white boys may experience the opposite effect because they tend to identify with powerful characters.
The Geena Davis Institute reports that from 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.
Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in Australia. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
You may wonder if it isn't enough to present programming to youngsters that is 'safe' and educational. But I would say that its not if there are fewer characters who are female than male and not if the female characters have less important information to share or are stereotyped. With time and repeated exposure, children come to normalize inequality in storytelling.
How often do you sit with a child and actually notice that girls are actually missing on screen? In the Pixar film Nemo, there is only one female apparently in the entire ocean….
In The Little Mermaid, a film that is so beloved it has been remade 5 times, men have three times as many lines as women. And then there is Despicable Me, Monsters Inc., Cars, Madagascar and I don’t even need to talk about The Smurfs and how Smurfette is out there all alone...
The reality is that girls and women make up half the population and our content should reflect that. We need to say as a community that this matters as often the choices about making characters’ male by default is unconscious. If we truly want change at the top end of business with diversity and gender that is representative of us as a country, then we have to change our view of gender to one of consciousness especially in on our screens and our children’s content.
Members' Review of the Workplace Relations Group Lunch with Guest Speaker APM Nigel Hadgkiss