Where are the women? New study reveals shocking stats about gender inequality in film…

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Here at Pop Up Docs we spend a lot of time developing our screening schedule – trying to ensure we have an exciting and varied programme with a mix of British and international subjects. But a recent report has made us question whether we are doing enough to showcase the work of female directors…

The report, commissioned by Directors UK, shows that the figures for women film directors have not improved in ten years, with women making up just 13.6% of working film directors. The report explores the factors that have led to these figures, such as career progression, budgets, genres, critics, audiences and public funding, and discovered how the industry culture leads to vastly different outcomes for men and women directing film.


Films command a great deal of influence on everyday society and the role of directors as storytellers is fundamental to this. This is why it is incredibly important that film directors reflect the audience they serve. By diversifying the pool of directors we open film up to a greater range of perspectives and stories.

Pop Up Docs has showcased the work of some fantastic female filmmakers including Lucy Walker (WASTE LAND), Laura Pointas (CITIZEN FOUR), Alison Klayman (AI WEI WEI: NEVER SORRY) and next month we will be screening a film by Laurie Anderson (HEART OF A DOG). But admittedly, we’ve screened less films directed by women than men – which is something we want to start to try and redress!

Bath is after all at the forefront of the revolution to redress the balance: Bath Film Festival‘s Holly Tarquini founded the “F-Rating” which highlights films which feature prominent women both behind and in front of the camera. The scheme, set up to encourage a public discussion concerning gender inequality in film, has started to received worldwide acclaim.


Gender inequality in the film industry has long been acknowledged as a serious problem, but despite high profile discussions and debates progress has yet to be made on the disparity between the number of men and women working as film directors. Directors UK wanted to get behind the numbers and identify the root causes as to why women directors are consistently disadvantaged when trying to become a director and in progressing their careers. This study provided them with new insight and understanding as to what is causing this inequality and has helped them formulate a number of recommendations that would, if implemented, bring about industry-wide change.

If you want to help support the Director’s UK campaign, find out more here.

To find out more about F-rated films take a look here. And to suggest any F-rated films that you feel Pop Up Docs should be screening, drop us a line.



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