Why we need to tell women's stories
When the media we consume on a daily basis largely offers limited representations of women, and the stories we're told feature women in limited roles with limited options (hello madonna/whore dichotomy), the future offered to women and girls, boys and men, is subsequently limited. That's not to say that we can't find against what we're offered but it makes the fight all the more difficult.
Gender inequality is rife in Australia and across the globe. Women are paid less. Women make up just 17% of CEO roles in Australia and 12% of chair positions. There's been little change in the way of accessible and affordable childcare in order to allow mothers to work, and very few companies offer paternity leave. 16.4% of women aged 15 years or older in Australian and New Zealand have been sexually assaulted by someone who wasn't a partner, which is more than double the global average of 7.2%. That statistic doesn't take into account the sexual assault that isn't reported, or the inclusion of sexual assault enacted by partners or those known to the victims. It seems to be a constant fight. Every time I check the news or scroll through Facebook there's another attack against women, more misplaced blame, less empathy and more defence from men who seem to take the fight for gender equality as an attack on their manhood. It's draining. I'm tired. Something needs to change. Stories need to change so the future can change.
We know gender inequality is rife in the film industry, both behind and in front of the camera. The Make It Fair Project for gender equality brings into light many (not surprising) but sad statistics prevalent today, amongst them 93% of all popular films in the last few years were directed by males, 80% were written by males and 70% of all speaking roles are given to males.
This is one of the reasons I was excited to hear a team of incredibly talented, creative and dedicated women decided to join forces and launch an Australian production company, The Dollhouse Collective. Rose Byrne, Gracie Otto, Krew Boylan, Jessica Carrera and Shannon Murphy have come together with the desire, Otto tells ScreenDaily, 'to develop theatre, film and television together and tell stories with a strong female presence'. It's through women coming together to consciously support and celebrate the varied, diverse and complex lives of women that we can work on changing the cultural stereotypes we come up against. I can't wait to see what they produce.
It's also through women sharing their stories that we can start to help others understand the reality of the patriarchal society we live in, and it's through celebrating women that we can achieve more. We're still going to come up against people who will sit behind their computer screens typing abuse furiously into the comments section on websites and social media pages, refusing to open up and listen, but it's worth it. It's worth the fight, even when you're tired. I want to know women's stories. I want to tell women's stories and I want to work alongside women in making change.
What stories do you want to share? What women do you want to celebrate?