The Gender Matters Taskforce at their first meeting in early March 2020. L-R, back: Anusha Duray, Joanna Werner, Monique Keller. Middle: Lisa French, Sarah Bassiuoni, Tania Chambers, Rachel Okine, Deanne Weir, Fiona Tuomy. Front: Meg O’Connell, Sophia Zachariou, Rosie Lourde, Liz Doran, Que Minh Luu, Kristy Matheson, (Photo: Daniel Boud)

Screen Australia, together with its Gender Matters Taskforce, has used International Women’s Day to unveil two initiatives aimed at supporting women and gender-diverse practitioners.

These include a series of webinars presented by women working in key creative roles and a mentoring program.

Hosted by Screenworks, the Gender Matters Webinars will engage with representatives from the Gender Matters Taskforce and the wider industry, leveraging their expertise and connections to advocate for change in each of their individual areas of speciality.

Gender Matters Taskforce chair and producer Joanna Werner, director Corrie Chen, documentary filmmakers Jen Peedom and Yaara Bou Melhem, and screenwriter Sarah Bassiuoni will join moderato, dean of RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication, Lisa French, in speaking at the sessions.

There is also Gender Matters Connect, a mentoring program delivered by Women in Film and Television Australia (WIFT Australia) and Screen Australia.

Among those sharing their expertise will be Gender Matters Taskforce deputy chair, investor, and company director Deanne Weir; writer and producer Liz Doran; cinematographer Bonnie Elliott; writer and producer Monique Keller; content creator and actor Rosie Lourde; producer Meg O’Connell, and filmmaker Fiona Tuomy.

Screen Australia head of content Sally Caplan said the initiatives had been developed to deliver “real and tangible” outcomes for those beginning to work within the industry or taking the next steps in their career.

“Gender Matters was created to address the underutilisation of female talent in key creative roles in the Australian screen industry, and we hope these initiatives will work towards greater gender parity by connecting with, supporting and empowering people currently underrepresented within the industry,” she said.

“We thank the speakers at the Gender Matters Webinars and mentors participating in Gender Matters Connect for leading by example and sharing their experiences and expertise with participants.

“It is important that practitioners feel empowered and can see a pathway to achieving their goals within the sector, and we hope these initiatives will assist participants in their chosen career.”

Gender Matters Taskforce chair Joanna Werner said the taskforce was committed to supporting systemic change in the industry.

“The heart of our mission is to see the inclusion and representation of women significantly rise, ensuring gender parity is widely achieved,” she said.

“We are passionate about assisting individual practitioners within the industry, with the ultimate goal of enacting an overdue widespread cultural change, by empowering and supporting more women and bringing opportunities for greater representation to the screen sector.”

Click here for more information about the Gender Matters Webinars.

Click here for more information about Gender Matters Connect.

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