A 50/50 gender distribution in Sweden’s film industry
Find out more about this innovative practice
The Swedish Film Institute (SFI), which provides funds to promote the production and distribution of new films, is fully committed to enhance gender equality in the audiovisual sector.
In 2013, a specific Film Agreement was reached with the Swedish state, requiring production funding to directors, scriptwriters and producers to be distributed equally - in a 50/50 percent ratio - between men and women by 2016. The objective was successfully achieved, making Sweden the first country in the world to achieve gender parity in public financing for films. SFI reached a ratio of 49% female beneficiary scriptwriters, directors and producers (combined) for the 2012-2016 period compared to only 35% for the 2006-2012 period. This policy addressed gender misconceptions and provided evidence against arguments often raised as obstacles to gender equality, such as a low quality of films and a lack of women wanting to become filmmakers. It also stands out among quota-policies because of its focus on quality as a priority criterion for funding decisions rather than ratios per se. Through the action plan “Towards a Gender Equal Film Production” launched in the same year, several initiatives contributed to dispel gender stereotypes such as a website called Nordic Women in Film, to make female film-makers in the region more visible, and a mentoring programme known as “Moviement”, aiming to help women film-makers develop leadership skills and career strategies.
To pursue this work, SFI launched in July 2016 an action plan called “Goal 2020: Gender equality in film production, both in front of and behind the camera”. In the same year, SFI launched a “FiftyFifty by 2020” event at the Cannes Festival to promote Sweden’s stance on gender equality in film production and to raise international awareness on the issue.
The Film Agreement and its associated projects contribute to the realization of Goal 4 by giving women equal opportunities to reach leading positions in the culture sector and by changing the culture of male-dominance within the film industry thus opening up new opportunities for enhancing the diversity of cultural expressions. These objectives also relate directly to SDG 5 (Targets 5.C and 5.5) by enhancing equal opportunities for women and men and by ensuring the continued monitoring of legislation to promote gender equality in the film industry.
The Swedish Film Institute Foundation (SFI) works to promote film across the board – from idea to finished product, during launch in Sweden and around the world, and by preserving films for posterity in our archives. In 2010–2014 SFI was granted special funding by the Government to increase gender equality in the film industry through grants to young women filmmakers. The 2013 film agreement made the gender equality criterion more stringent, which means that production subsidies were to be allocated equally between women and men. By the end of 2015 the total of the subsidies allocated during the agreement period were to have been disbursed to 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men in each of the three occupational categories of director, scriptwriter and producer. This goal has now been achieved in principle. In 2016 the Ministry of Culture commissioned Filminstitutet to head work on a seminar at Cannes under the slogan “Fiftyfifty by 2020” with the aim of using Sweden’s stance on gender equality in film production to raise international interest in the issue. The seminar attracted widespread international attention.
To increase gender equality in the film industry through grants to young women filmmakers.
By the end of 2015 the total of the subsidies allocated during the agreement period were to have been disbursed to 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men in each of the three occupational categories of director, scriptwriter and producer. This goal has now been achieved in principle.
Within the ordinary budget frames.