May 21, 2024

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VUB Research Shows: Women in Film Still Suffer from Gender Inequality |  film

VUB Research Shows: Women in Film Still Suffer from Gender Inequality | film

filmVUB Communications Scientist Ynske De Neve, along with Professor Kevin Smits, have laid their shoulders in a study on gender equality in the film sector. What does it look like? Women working in the Flemish film industry testify that they still suffer from inequality. According to the researchers, more models and rules are needed to put an end to this.

In her master’s thesis, de Neve interviewed ten women from the world of Flemish film, from producers to directors and photographers. She also spoke with three organizations working for gender equality (The Representative, WIFTM and WANDA Collective) and analyzed several policy documents. A consistent pattern emerged from those conversations: the presence of women remains stereotyped, though it goes further.

“Women are represented, for example, as fashion designers, but have never completed screenwriters or directors,” says VUB professor Smets. “Everything they highlight has to do with the subtle things they feel, like judging work more based on criteria like appearance and getting feedback on work and personal relationships. Those are the things you can see less clearly in terms of numbers.”


A striking result is the infantile terminology that women encounter. They are still often called “girl”, “dingske” or “mickey” and are therefore dismissed as inferior. During the research, the interviewees suggested two concrete solutions. On the other hand, female role models are needed, for example in the curricula and among teachers in film schools or the appearance of female directors in the media. On the other hand, there is a call to regulation. Concretely, women suggest that the introduction of quotas is probably the only way to penetrate old power structures,” says de Neve.

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