Kate Winslet
Cast member Kate Winslet poses for photographers at the closing night premiere of the film "Steve Jobs" at the BFI London Film Festival October 18, 2015. Reuters/Neil Hall

Screen Australia has announced a three year programme to address the issue of gender imbalance in TV production and local film. It is ready to pump in $5 million for the program. A lot of women celebrities have complained in the past about how the industry favours their male counterparts. Jennifer Lawrence even wrote an essay after the Sony email hacks for an online newsletter by Lena Dunham on the significant disparity in pay. Chris Hemsworth too supported Lawrence’s claim and said he is ready to disclose his pay to his female co-stars.

American actress, director and former fashion model Anjelica Huston also revealed what she really thinks about the gender imbalance to New York Times last month, writes News.com.au.

“It’s kind of like the church. They don’t want us to be priests. They want us to be obedient nuns,” she said.

Thankfully, Screen Australia, the government agency for film and TV, has taken up the issue and is ready to do something about it. The program will offer incentives for projects employing women as protagonists and also in positions of creative control. According to ABC News , the imbalance is the greatest in films. Women make up only a quarter of writers, third of producers and one in seven film directors.

“Our focus is on female-led creative teams. We are aiming to ensure our production funding is targeted to creative teams that are at least 50 per cent female by (the end of) 2018,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason. The initiative has been dubbed “Gender Matters.”

The $5 million will be distributed between two fronts. About $3 million dollars will be used to get projects into production within 2 years and the rest $2 million will be used in industry networking, marketing and distribution.

According to the managing partner of Melbourne’s Cinema Nova, Natalie Miller AO, the “Gender Matters” programme is a big step forward “in the right direction.”

Screen Australia’s Fiona Cameron pointed out that one of Australia’s most successful movies of 2015, “ The Dressmaker ” found it tough to get international buyers as they demanded an A-list male celebrity in the movie even when the movie had international superstars such as Kate Winslet and Judy Davis. Producer Sue Maslin had to fight a lot to get the movie out on reels.

Cameron is confident that Australia’s screen industry has always underrepresented women.

“It hasn't changed in 30 years, so the answer to that question is it's bloody poor,” she said.

Last year, out of 21 films that performed best at the box office, only 14% were directed by women.

The popularity of “The Dressmaker” has shown that women are capable enough to lead and win viewers’ hearts. The film’s key roles of producer, director, screenwriter, editor, lead and supporting actors, art direction and casting, all were carried out by women.

Actor Miranda Tapsell and “The Dressmaker” producer Sue Maslin are part of Screen Australia’s “Gender Matters” taskforce.

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