Battle of the Sexes and Gender Parity in the Australian Film Industry

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The Out Takes team was talking tennis and gender parity for this program, specifically turning our attention to BATTLE OF THE SEXES, the new film from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It depicts the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which became the most watched televised sports event of all time.

Fundamentally, we thought that BATTLE OF THE SEXES is a film about equality. And that’s something that we can all relate to at the moment. So we use BATTLE OF THE SEXES as an opportunity to look at gender parity more broadly, particularly within the Australian film industry.

While at least 50 percent of film school graduates are women, film industries around the world are invariably dominated by men. Major female stars still earn less than their male counterparts. So what is it that is preventing gender parity within the film industry?

To help us answer this question, we welcomed Lisa French into the Out Takes studio. Lisa French is a senior professor in Cinema Studies and the co-author of ‘Shining a Light: 50 Years of the Australian Film Institute’ and ‘Womenvision: Women and the Moving Image in Australia’.

We were also joined by Melinda O’Connor, the out going president of WIFT, an organisation dedicated to fighting for equality for women in film and television. We spoke with Melinda about why WIFT is so important and what we can do to promote gender parity in the film industry.

Essential Viewing: Battle of the Sexes (Dir. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2017)

The Battle of the Sexes (Dir. James Erskine and Zara Hayes, 2013)

Hungry for More: Suffragette (Dir. Sarah Gavron, 2015)

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