Because of the "buddy system" there are few women in the film industry

The Federal Office of Culture (FOC) has commissioned research into why there is a large gender gap in Swiss filmmaking. The study shows that women fall outside the so-called "buddy system.


The difference between studies and career is striking: About the same number of women as men graduate from a Swiss film school, after which a gap opens up. "Women are underrepresented in professional filmmaking," writes the research office Interface. It conducted a study in 2020 on the equality of filmmakers in Switzerland on behalf of the BAK. The results were presented at this year's Locarno Film Festival.

For example, publicly financed Swiss feature films have 35 percent female screenwriters and producers, just 29 percent female directors and a marginal 13 percent female cinematographers. An exception is montage and editing, with just over half women.

Generation effect is present

However, a generational effect is observed: "Among younger filmmakers (born in 1980 or later), a more balanced picture emerges - with the exception of the camera position - with 37 percent female directors and as many as 50 percent female producers." Increasing proportions of women are also recorded among the younger members of professional associations and the funding applications accepted.

In order to find out the factors influencing the unequal conditions, 139 film university graduates were surveyed in writing and interviews were conducted with 16 filmmakers and 10 experts - for example from associations or funding bodies.

The following career obstacles for female filmmakers have emerged: hardly any family-friendly working conditions, a "buddy system" of men that is difficult to access, and widespread stereotypical role thinking. Younger filmmakers in particular are said to be less willing to submit to masculinely connoted manners, hierarchies and irregular working conditions in order to succeed.

Which measures work?

The Schuss report also discusses equality measures that already exist or are recommended. They range from online campaigns and coaching programs to incentives in cultural funding. In the case of federal funding, for example, the costs of caring for children and relatives in need of care have been eligible since 2020. Further studies would have to show which measures actually increase diversity. (SDA)

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