Boomerang: Back to the family bungalow, Karine and her sister Stéphanie prepare to live their pregnancy under the same roof.

Gender Balance

In 2017-2018, the CMF introduced a series of tangible measures to increase the number of women in key roles on CMF-funded productions. These include concrete changes to the CMF’s guidelines and policies, a commitment to achieving gender balance in all juries that are put in place to evaluate projects, and support for third-party initiatives such as the Academy’s Apprenticeship for Women Directors.

As demonstrated by research conducted in different markets around the world and by the CMF’s own statistics, women are underrepresented in leadership categories in the screen-based industries: prior to the introduction of the gender parity measures, on average, for content the CMF invests in, women in leadership positions represented 23% of directors, 34% of writers and 39% of producers. In this context, the CMF introduced changes in its Programs to increase the number of women in the positions of producer, director, and writer in television; and in digital media, the key creative positions of producer, director, programmer, and designer.

In the 2018-2019 Performance Envelope and Development Envelope allocations, broadcasters were required to spend a minimum of 25% of their allocations (with a target of 35%) on projects where at least 40% of the total number of key creative positions were held by women.

90% of broadcasters with Performance Envelopes met both the 25% requirement and the 35% target (three broadcasters did not meet the requirement). 92% of broadcasters with Development Envelopes met the 25% requirement and 83% met the 35% target (two broadcasters did not meet the requirement).

In the selective programs (Convergent and Experimental), three ranking points were given to projects that had at least 40% of women in key roles. In addition, all juries involved in selection met parity in their members.

In the Convergent Stream, 33 projects close to the cut-off line (i.e., within 3 ranking points) or 62.3% of approved projects, were accepted with gender points. 23 projects close to the cut-off line were refused (17.0% of refused projects) and did not receive gender points. In the Experimental Stream, 25 projects close to the cut-off line (i.e., within 3 ranking points) or 26.0% of approved projects, were accepted with gender points. 24 projects close to the cut-off line were refused (11.0% of refused projects) and did not receive gender points.

2018-2019 was the second year of gender balance initiatives. The 2018-2019 results of the program requirements are shown in the charts below, representing the percentage of women in key creative positions compared to the total of men and women in CMF-funded projects.1 Results from television production applications were divided into the key creative roles of writers, directors, and producers. Differences in the number of women in key roles were analyzed by language-genre category and by budget size. CMF-funded projects are already in a positive position for television, while digital media projects need additional growth to meet the target.

Exceeding the 2018-2019 target, women make up over 40% of writers in all language-genre categories except French Drama and Variety & Performing Arts. In English Drama and French Children’ & Youth, women represent over 50% of writers. Overall English writers for production, the percentage of women has improved from 44% in 2017-2018 to 48%. In English Drama specifically, the percentage has improved from 47% to 51%. On average for French projects, the percentage of women writers has remained the same at 41% compared to 2017-2018.

Both low-budget and big-budget projects had between 46% and 50% women as writers. The category with the smallest percentage of women is the mid-range: between $400K and $800K budget per episode. Low-budget projects make up more than half of the productions shown. 

Women constitute a smaller share of directors in 2018-2019 projects than shares of writers or producers. English Documentary is at 40% and English Drama is at 39% women in the director’s role. In English Drama, gender balance has improved 13 percentage points from 26% in 2017-2018. Both English and French Variety & Performing Arts are at 13% and French Drama is at 18% women directors. Aboriginal and Diverse Language projects are at 37% women directors. However, these results are a marked improvement from last year. Overall English directors, 30% were women in 2017-2018 and this year the percentage is 38%. Overall French directors have not shown a change from last year’s 26%.

Big-budget projects have a better track record in hiring women directors. The largest budget per episode categories are at 40% and 39% women in the director’s role. The smaller budget categories fluctuate between 23% and 34% for women directors.

Women have achieved gender balance in the producer’s role. Only French Drama is below 40% in hiring women producers and many categories are over 50%. Overall French producers, 40% were women in 2017-2018 and this year the percentage is 47%.

The hiring patterns by budget per episode size are consistent in the producer’s role. The best performance shown is in the largest budget projects.

Number of 2018-2019 Television Productions by Budget-size category

Category Productions
Less than $100K 131
Between $100K and $250K 127
Between $250K and $400K 67
Between $400K and $800K 98
Between $800K and $1,750K 40
Over $1,750K 29
(Experimental projects shown were funded through the Innovation, Commercial, and Web Series programs)

The majority of Innovation and Commercial Projects (C3P) Program projects still show a low percentage of women in key roles. Games and Rich Interactive Media are the main types of projects funded and neither exceeds 30% women in key roles. Neither category shows an improvement from last year when women made up 29% of key roles in games production.

Web Series have hired close to 50% of women in key roles, an improvement from last year’s 40%.

Experimental projects show the opposite trend to television in budget size. If an Experimental project has a large budget, the less likely it will hire women in key roles. However, projects with the largest budgets have improved from 15% women in key roles in 2017-2018 to 23% this year.

1 In both Television and Experimental results shown, the totals are self-declared women and men in the key roles. Gender diverse and those who chose not to declare are excluded from these statistics.

Back to top