Equity Diversity Summit

Equity puts Gender on the Agenda at groundbreaking summit in Melbourne

The CEO of the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media, Madeline Di Nonno, set the tone for what was a truly inspiring and thought provoking two days of knowledge, information and ideas sharing at the second Equity Summit last weekend.

Di Nonno delivered the opening keynote address at the Malthouse Theatre, using the opportunity to present findings from some of the organisation’s world-first research projects.

Most recently the Geena Davis Institute has partnered with Google to analyse the amount of screen and speaking time for women in Hollywood’s top grossing films. The video and audio recognition software was two years in the making. In films with male leads, male characters appear three times as often as female characters. Male characters speak twice as often as female characters.
Di Nonno also offered some simple ways our industry can turn the tide.

1.Go through the projects you’re already working on and replace the characters first name’s to women’s names. In one stroke you’ve created some colourful non stereotypical female characters that might turn out to be more interesting now that they’ve had the gender switch.

2.When there’s a crowd scene in the script you need to actually write in the script “a crowd gathers which is half female”. That may seem weird but I promise you somehow or other on set that day you will end up with a crowd that is 17% female.

3.Hire more women! Writers, directors, producers, cast and crew!

Di Nonno then provided some of her organisation’s success stories from Hollywood. You can listen to it here.

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Australia’s leading female filmmakers then shared their career paths in a male-dominated industry, as well as their opinions and insights about the state of inequity in the Australian film industry. This panel featured directors Gillian Armstrong, Ana Kokkinos and Nadia Tass and producer Sue Maslin . It was moderated by performer Danielle Cormack. You can listen to Female Filmmakers on the Frontline here.

During The Missing Majority panelists discussed the current movement for change, whether gender should matter at all, what changes they want to see and how we make these changes happen. This panel featured Brett Sheehy (Artistic Director, Melbourne Theatre Company), Georgina Naidu (Performer), Leanne Tonkes (Producer), Michelle Guthrie (Managing Director, ABC), and was moderated by Leah Vandenberg (Performer). You can listen to it here.

What are the issues that female performers must face on a regular basis and what tools can we use to address them? Bullying, sexual harassment, ageism and pay disparity are some of the many experiences frequently brought to Equity’s attention. Female Empowerment in the Workplace featured Zoe Angus (Director, Equity), Nicolina Lademann (Senior Associate, Marshalls+Dent lawyers), Ferne Downey (President, International Federation of Actors), Anna McGahan (Performer), Simone Ball Santamaria (Performer) and moderated by Nadine Garner (Performer). It shone a light on the issues facing female performers and what rights they have to address them. There was a particular focus on boundaries; how to have the strength and courage to say no when you need to. You can listen to it here.

There were many more conversations at the Summit and we will be rolling them out in the coming weeks. Thank you to our wonderful speakers and attendees for making the event such a resounding success.

This event would not have been possible without our many sponsors and supporters: Matchbox Pictures, Foxtel, Media Super, Showcast, the Mathouse Theatre and our major sponsor – Film Victoria

If you would like to provide any feedback on the summit please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.