Equity and Equality

13 Oct

Over a thousand people have now signed a petition, started by a group of Equity members, calling for urgent action by industry leaders to address the imbalance of work opportunities between actors and actresses. Join the campaign today! Visit www.gopetition.com/online/24658.html to add your name to Equity’s petition.

The petition reads: “Over half the viewing public is female, yet in TV drama for every female character, there are two male characters – (35.3% female roles to 63.5% male roles). Whilst leading parts are frequently played by male actors over 45, women in this age group start to disappear from our screens. The message this sends to viewers is distorted and distorting. We call on all the major UK television channels to take action to correct this imbalance.”

The petition follows research across 20 European countries by Equity and other entertainment unions which demonstrated that actresses have fewer work opportunities and get paid less than men and that this gets worse as actresses get older.

Arts Minister Barbara Follett MP has welcomed the research and commented: “Just imagine what we would have missed if some of our finest actresses had been overlooked in the way this research suggests is happening today. Just imagine artistic life without performers like Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave.”

Key research finding were:

• men have longer careers as performers than women;

• women are over-represented in the lowest income group and under-represented in the highest income group;

• women believe they fare less well than men in the number and variety of roles and pay and are type-cast more often;

• an overwhelming majority of women see ageing as a disadvantage to them getting work whereas men were evenly split with half seeing it as an advantage and half a disadvantage;

• men are overwhelmingly positive about the way their gender and age are represented in performing work whereas women are far more negative.

The research was conducted by Industrial Relations Research Unit at Warwick University and commissioned by the International Federation of Actors.

Visit the Equity website at www.equity.org.uk for more information.

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