Voices of Parents & Carers in the UK Film and TV Industry
Last year, Raising Films started a conversation about the challenges faced by parents and carers working in film and television. Now, we’re proud to present what we’ve learned with the results of our survey — the first nationwide look into the impact of caring on career development across the industry.
View and download the Campaign Report (pdf).
View and download the Full Report (pdf).
Scroll down to view and download appendices to the report, with further breakdowns by demographics and industry role.
This survey reveals very clear barriers for parents and carers who work within film and TV, which do not only affect women, but continue to affect them disproportionately. 640 respondents participated, with over half living outside Greater London, across the UK. 72% of both male (21%) and female (78%) respondents are or have been parents or carers, of whom 11% are sole parents or carers.
63% of respondents are freelance or self-employed in roles across the industry from crew to exhibition: this is indicative of the nature of the industry, but also a response to its demands. Many describe being limited in the work available, as the industry relies on long hours, often at short-notice; others needed to change roles entirely.
The frustration was palpable – from active discrimination to the difficulty (or impossibility) of trying to juggle caring roles with a TV/film career, resulting in limited participation. 79 percent of respondents reported their career felt a negative impact from their parenting and caring responsibilities.
Financial uncertainty and the economic impact of family life are a major concern, particularly for freelancers, as childcare is expensive and pay can be low. Tax relief is thus high on the agenda for carers, as is flexible childcare that can fulfill often ad hoc or last minute needs. Legislation for gender equality and for fair hours would also be welcome.
There is a strong desire for cultural change within the industry to support these structural changes towards a more equal workplace, in order for parents and carers to have genuine and fair access. Changes such as the reduction of anti-social hours are seen as being beneficial for all – including audiences, who will reap the benefit of a more diverse creative cohort working in film and television.
Quotes from our partners
“This year has seen the publication of three key reports on the shocking lack of gender equality in our industry, from Directors UK, the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, and the University of Southampton.
“There is no doubt that, in an increasingly casualised industry, having children is a career killer for women much more than for men. This timely report drills down into the practical problems faced by women and provides some excellent recommendations for the way ahead. This is essential reading for everyone interested in maximising the talent pool in our creative industries.”
— Kate Kinninmont MBE, CEO, Women in Film & Television (UK)
“This report raises some of the key issues that parents and particularly women face when working in the Screen Sector. The report chimes with much of what was revealed within our own recent equalities, diversity and inclusion survey. Creative Scotland recognise the significant barriers faced by parental and carer responsibilities and are working with the wider Sector to address these. The Screen EDI Review will be published in the autumn and will include Raising Films’ work and sector-wide recommendations for next steps.”— Rosie Crerar, Screen Officer, Creative Scotland
“The research carried out by Raising Films should mark the beginning of a practically focused conversation across the industry about how it should be responding to a critical issue. The research confirms the urgent need for the film industry to respond positively and practically to the situation many women, and men, struggle to manage.
“Not only is career development harder for women than men in the film industry but the statistics show that men earn more annually from film than women, this situation cannot be acceptable in 2016. “The film industry is in danger of being left behind wider society, and is limiting the types of stories being told and under serving audiences by shutting out women’s voices and perspectives. So much more needs to be done to encourage and welcome parents and care givers back into the industry.”
— Beryl Richards, director and Chair, Directors UK
“This important and timely piece of research makes it clear that financial provisions, whilst desperately needed, are not going to solve inequality in the film industry. Working practices must also change. Those who cannot or do not want to work excessive hours or full time must be understood as no less committed or capable. In 2016 the film industry can no longer expect workers to have someone else at home who can do the childcare, but must make it possible for parents, particularly mothers, to be involved in all aspects of filmmaking.”
— Dr. Natalie Wreyford, “Calling the Shots”, University of Southampton
“Raising Film’s report offers figures and statistics to back up the anecdotes. It’s the kind of crucial information that makes the issue that much harder to ignore. Yes, this is definitely happening, here and now. And not only the worker/carers lose out – so does the industry, on their skills, intelligence and life experience.
“Not only does the Raising Films report give us the hard and unpalatable facts in easy-to-digest form, it also offers some practical and tenable suggestions as to how the situation could be improved.”
— Olivia Hetreed, writer and President, Writers Guild of Great Britain
“Raising Films’ Making it Possible report makes an important and timely contribution to continuing research into gender inequalities in the film industry. It identifies not only the many challenges of care in this sector, but also several potential solutions, by gathering detailed responses directly from industry professionals across a range of roles, including those working in UK film production, exhibition and distribution.”
— Dr. Susan Berridge, Lecturer in Film and Media, Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies, University of Stirling
“This research is proof that the future of the British Film Industry depends on our ability to adapt and embrace new ways of working. We must take the lead from other sectors which have identified workforce development as key to success and find our own creative solutions. Imagine the diverse wealth of talent and experience if these barriers to work were removed?”
— Cassie Raine, actor and Founder, Parents in the Performing Arts
Learn more about individual role results within our survey.