Amid the tidal wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations made by women against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, it is more important to drive gender equality within creative industries, according to digital production agency, Tinderflint's client services director and founder, Eliot Carroll.
However, the discussion should not just be limited to those working in the creative spaces, he adds, as gender equality is an essential basis for building a better society.
The London based agency is taking the pledge with #FreeTheBid, an initiative to tackle the inequality within the industry by giving female directors equal opportunity to pitch on commercial jobs, and will be getting involving themselves with a number of other such initiatives over the coming months.
In an interview with The Drum, Carroll outlined why he wants to ensure female talent is given the opportunity to shine through and how Tinderflint is realising that goal.
How critical do you think is the role of content creators in trying to diminish workplace bias, especially when it comes to gender inequality? Is that the reason behind your recent pledge to FreeTheBid?
I feel that everyone has a role to play in tackling inequality in the workplace. The creative industry is still very much dominated by white middle-classes, with specific roles still being made up predominantly by men. This balance needs to be addressed, not only from a moral perspective but also from a creative one. Opening up the industry to a diverse range of talent can only improve the work we create and ensure that the industry speaks from a multitude of viewpoints and perspectives. As content creators I feel we need to be mindful not only of the content we produce but also the way in which we produce it.
As such, I’m keen to make sure that talented people are given the chances they deserve. Tinderflint was in part set up because as we wanted to make a tangible difference through our work. It became apparent last year that we weren’t doing enough to tackle some of the inequality issues that exist within our industry and, so we made a conscious decision to try and rectify that.
After signing a number of female directors to our roster we heard about #FreeTheBid and were very interested in becoming involved with the scheme.
Our industry is painfully aware of the lack of female creatives, but do you think enough attempts are being made to remedy that?
I’m painfully aware that we’re still a male dominated company and the irony that this is being written by a man is not lost on me. Less than 3% of creative directors and less that 7% of directors are women which highlights the problem that exists. This is just the tip of the iceberg, with clear examples of gender inequality very much in the news at the moment. These range from disparities in pay between men and women for doing the same job, through to serious sexual abuse highlighted by the Weinstein case and the #METOO hashtag in response.
Just being aware of the issue is not enough. We’ve been aware of problems around diversity for some time and we need to actively involve ourselves in initiatives that not only change attitudes, but change behaviour. Gender equality is not only a necessity within our industry, but an integral part of building a better society.
Do you think there is also a general mistrust of women when it comes to handling big budgets, or even certain big brands and their advertising?
While there is a distinct lack of women within certain creative roles, my experience of a production office seems to be the opposite. Most production managers and producers I’ve worked with have been women and managing budgets obviously plays a large part in those roles.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing production talent who have managed a wide range of budgets. If there is a general mistrust of women handling budgets, then they’ve clearly never worked with our team… or live in the dark ages.
When Tinderflint first came on to the scene, you became involved with IPPF’s Girls Decide? What was the idea/concept behind the videos?
The International Planned Parenthood Federation is a fantastic organisation tackling some of the issues faced by young women and girls around the world. When we got the opportunity to work with the IPPF to promote the Girls Decide Project we jumped at the chance. Filmed in 6 different countries, in 6 different regions, the series addressed some challenging and sensitive subject matter ranging from sex trafficking, through to forced marriage.
Each film was based on a specific case study and produced collaboratively with the relevant membership association. We held workshops in each country prior to filming to ensure that each film reflected the experience of the women and young girls involved. The overarching concept was based on the transformative nature of the work and how the services offered help to empower women and give them a voice.
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