NSW Government minister calls on Australian TV networks to back women directors

A New South Wales Government minister has called on TV broadcasters to back the state’s initiatives to promote female talent in the screen industry.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin was speaking alongside directors and actors Rachel Griffiths and Leah Purcell at the launch of the #SheDirects program, which will provide $100,000 for up to four female-directed TV drama projects.

Rachel Griffiths, Minister Don Harwin and Leah Purcell at the #SheDirects launch. Photo by Fiora Sacco

“As well as calling on female directors to apply, we urge the nation’s broadcasters to back this important initiative,” Harwin said.

“The industry has made excellent progress, and #SheDirects will give even further impetus to ensuring gender is no barrier to achievement in this diverse sector.”

Applications are open for one-hour TV drama productions with a female director and at least one other female being part of the NSW-based key creative team.

Leah Purcell added: “#SheDirects is a great initiative. Parity in our sector is a good thing and a worthy endeavour. We know women make up half the population so similar numbers behind the camera makes all the sense in the world.

“Talent and numbers are not the issue, opportunity and access are. I come from the Indigenous screen sector where women have been an important part of a modern Australian film and TV movement and #SheDirects will only broaden that and increase female participation as a whole.”

Rachel Griffiths commented: “Initiatives like #SheDirects are critical to help bring down barriers for women in the screen industry. Australia has always led the world in female participation in this universally male-dominated industry.”

In November 2015, the former agency Screen NSW, now part of Create NSW, first introduced a target to achieve an average 50:50 gender equity in its development and production funding programs by 2020, in a bid to reduce the industry-wide gender bias against women in key creative roles.

Last July, Screen NSW announced that all TV drama series applications would require female key creatives on their teams to be eligible for funding, and that the company would not support or fund events (including conferences and festivals) that included all-male panels. The agency later committed that 50% of the feature films funded by the state government will be written or directed by women from 1 July 2017.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.