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Europe and gender equality

During a plenary session held in Brussels on October 27, 2011, the European sectoral social dialogue committee for the audio-visual field formally adopted a framework of action on gender equality, representing a successful outcome to two years of negotiation between social partners. The agreement aims to improve the situation in the sector in the following areas:

– Gender representation;
– Gender role at work;
– Wage equality;
– Decision-making equality; and,
– Balance between career and home.

Drawn up by representatives of several employer and worker organizations, the plan of action takes the diversity of social partners into account. The good practices it recommends cover all development stages of gender equality policies.

In July 2010 the International Federation of Actors also released their Handbook of Good Practices: to Combat Gender Stereotypes and Promote Equal Opportunities in Film, Television and Theatre in Europe; the recent Sex and Power Report for 2011 showed that only 8.3% of arts organizations in Britain are chaired by women and the Arts Council of England is reviewing its plans for diversity; and Spain, France and Norway have quotas in place for board members of organizations.

Despite all this activity overseas, here in Canada the discussion appears much less lively. The report A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada from Hill Strategies (Based on the 2006 census) shows that women make less than men in all areas of the arts yet the interest that is reflected by the studies, best practices and legislation popping up in Europe well surpasses the amount of discussion happening here at home. Are Canadians less concerned about this issue or are we just quieter when voicing our concerns?