Towards Gender Equality in Film Production

The gender equality perspective permeates everything that is done at the Swedish Film Institute: from production funding to the choice of films to promote from the archive, from funding to the screening sector to the recruitment of new personnel. The Film Institute's goal is to be a gender equal workplace, and also to lay the foundation for gender equality in film production.


Pernilla August was Guldbagge awarded for Best Director in 2011 for Beyond (Svinalängorna). Photo: Patrik Österberg

Gender equality has been brought into stronger focus in the 2013 Film Agreement, which means that production funding is to be divided equally between women and men. By the end of 2015, the total amount of funding awarded during the agreement period shall be allocated 50% to women and 50% to men in each of the three professional categories: director, screenwriter and producer.

Special actions

The Film Institute has drawn up the action plan Towards Gender Equality in Film Production in which we highlight some of the measures and initiatives that will help us achieve our goals. One of the initiatives is Moviement, a mentor and change programme where five well-established female feature-film directors and ten women who to date have each made one feature-length fiction film. The programme, which runs during 2013, is a leadership and strategy course which aims to empower female directors in taking their film ideas through the funding labyrinth to a completed film. Another example is the website Nordic Women in Film, currently under construction, which aims to make female filmmakers in the Nordic region more visible.

Our funding and gender equality

In short film, the production funding was equally distributed between women and men in 2012. Of the short documentaries that received production funding in 2012, 53 per cent were produced by a woman and 43 per cent were directed by a woman. However, things are progressing more slowly on the feature-length side. Of the feature-length fiction films that received production funding in 2012, 32 per cent were produced by a woman and 30 per cent were directed by a woman. This is partly because no more than 25 per cent of the applications received are from female directors linked to the project. Discussion and monitoring of the results of production funding awards are taking place, both in production and in the screening sector.

Reports and studies

Subsequent to the Film Institute's 2010 report entitled 00-talets regidebutanter och jämställdheten (First-time directors and equality in the 2000s), which showed that the distorted gender distribution in the film directing profession begins at an early age, the Swedish Ministry of Culture earmarked funds for a several-year initiative focusing on young women who are interested in a career in film. The aim is to lay the foundation for young women to progress into a future as a professional director, cinematographer or producer, for example. This is being achieved through mentor programmes, workshops and training initiatives in the area of social structures and gender equality.

As part of the several-year initiative, a report entitled Inför nästa tagning (Ahead of the next take) was also produced. Based on conversations with young filmmakers, regional film commissioners and professionals in the industry, the report serves as a basis for the Film Institute’s ongoing efforts relating to equality. It shows that gender awareness needs to increase in Sweden’s film education programmes, and also the importance of broadening the selection of role models in the film industry, particularly when it comes to directors.

Towards Gender Equality in Film Production (pdf)

En route vers la parité dans le 7e Art (pdf)

Gender Equality Statistics

Published 05/11/2012   Changed 20/05/2013