Women in Film & Television Australia (WIFT Australia) is dedicated to achieving gender equality in the Australian screen industry through research, advocacy, education and support for female-identifying screen industry practitioners.
What is ScreenMATE?
The ScreenMATE Bystander Program is based on the successful MATE Bystander Program delivered by Griffith University. ScreenMATE is an educational workshop designed to teach community members how to recognise abuse and harmful behaviours, and have the confidence to speak out and offer help. It brings each individual in to the conversation to think critically and with empathy about the root attitudes and beliefs that underpin harmful gender stereotypes. The trained facilitators create a safe space to allow individuals to share their experiences and opinions about these issues.
Why is it important?
Issues relating to sexual harassment and bullying create considerable exit points for women in the Australian screen industry and have a direct relationship to gender inequity. Ultimately, this disempowers women in the sector, as well as the general female identifying population, through lack of visible women on screen and in female-centric stories being told in our culture.
A confidential poll undertaken by Women in Film and Television NSW in 2017 revealed 58% of respondents have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, with 72% having experienced either harassment or discrimination which has negatively affected their career. These figures reflect the pattern identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2017, showing 53% of women had experienced sexual harassment during their life. The Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2018 survey in this area showed us that our industry rates far higher than the national average.
A report published by Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault in 2014 stated that bystander programs provide a “promising complementary approach to progressing sexual violence prevention” (Powell, A.).
What will the workshops deliver?
ScreenMATE focuses on primary prevention and uncovers how gender-based violence and gender equality are inextricably linked.
The direct benefits include:
· A safer workplace for all individuals
· To provide individuals with practical and immediately useful bystander intervention skills
· To create a more inclusive workplace culture for the screen industry by creating shared language, awareness and skills
· Improving women’s economic participation and engagement in male dominated areas of the industry
· To invite individuals and organisations to be a part of creating long-term culture change within the screen industry