While the issue of gender equality in film has been a longstanding issue within the industry, yet little progress has been made over the years despite awareness efforts.
For instance, the non-for-profit organization Women in View released a 2015 report that in the Canadian film industry, only 17 percent of directors, 22 percent of writers, and 12 percent of cinematographers were women in a sample of 91 feature films made in 2013 to 2014.
Although the National Film Board of Canada's production spending on films directed by women is close to parity, the NFB is taking further action to ensure gender equality remains strong.
The NFB announced on International Women's Day (March 8) that a minimum of half of its productions will be directed by women. What's more, half of all of the NFB's production budget will be devoted to films directed by women.
“In our current fiscal year, films directed by women represent half of our total spending on production," government film commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur said at a Vancouver International Women in Film Festival event. "In 2016‒2017, the numbers are projected to be well above that. But numbers can fluctuate. There have been good years and lean years for women’s filmmaking at the NFB. No more. Today, I’m making a firm, ongoing commitment to full gender parity, which I hope will help to lead the way for the industry as a whole.”
This commitment will be integrated over the next three years to ensure that gender equality is established as the status quo by 2019. This will involve the implementation of tools to monitor and track gender representation in all NFB projects in their 11 studios, including an internal process to keep track of gender in all key positions (director, writer, producer, editor, and director of photography).
All recorded information will be posted annually on their website to ensure transparency and accountability.
The NFB's spending for the 2015-2016 fiscal year was for 43.4 percent of productions directed by women and 43.5 percent for films directed by men (with 11.3 percent for mixed-gender teams and 1.8 percent not allocated).
Those numbers for women were up from the previous year (2015 to 2015) which was 41.7 percent for women and 47.8 for men.
Currently, fifty-five percent of the NFB’s producers and executive producers are women, with 66 percent of upper management and 70 percent of NFB board of trustee positions held by women.