What We Do
Welcome to the WFTV website
Women in Film & TV (UK) is the leading membership organisation for women working in creative media in the UK, and part of an international network of over 10,000 women worldwide.
Members of our organisation come from a broad range of professions spanning the entire creative media industry.
We host a variety of events throughout the year, present a glamorous awards ceremony every December, and run a mentoring programme for women in the industry. We also host networking evenings, collaborate with industry bodies on research projects and lobby for women’s interests.
Becoming a Member
Any female professional working in the film, television or creative media industry in the UK can become a member of WFTV (UK). This includes a broad range of occupations, such as director, writer, producer, actor, media lawyer, accountant, broadcaster, presenter, development exec, marketing and PR exec, journalist, technician, post production, distribution, senior exec, etc.
We have 2 types of membership, London and Country:
Annual London Membership is £100 + VAT, which works out at just £10 a month.
Annual Country Membership, for those who live anywhere in the UK outside the M25, is £50 + VAT, which works out at just £5 a month.
“I can’t recommend joining Women in Film & Television enough. As a young woman, still relatively new to the industry, WFTV has helped an incredible amount over the last few years with expanding my knowledge, my networking skills, contacts and confidence.”
WFTV Member, 2014
History of WFTV (UK)
In 1989, a group of women came together for the first official WFTV (UK) meeting. They were a mix of business executives, creatives and performers, including Linda La Plante, Dawn French, and Janet Street Porter. These were successful women who were fed up with the still male-dominated industry which demanded they be engaged in a constant struggle to be heard and respected.
They resolved to take positive action and follow in the footsteps of organisations in LA and New York, which had been established in the 70s, to support women working in the film and TV industries. They did this by creating a network of members and organising workshops, events, mentoring and awards to help them progress in their careers.
In 1990 the first Women in Film and Television Awards ceremony was held to recognise the achievements of some of the most successful women the industry could boast.
24 years on, the Awards is the largest annual celebration of women working in film, TV and digital media in the UK and has become a ‘must attend’ event.
The organisation has grown from being run by volunteers to having, 4 full-time members of staff, a busy programme of events and a well-respected Mentoring Scheme.
It’s the 21st Century! Do We Really Still Need an Organisation Like WFTV?
We wish it weren’t so but unfortunately industry statistics and the experience of our membership proves that there is as much need as ever for an organisation that supports women in the creative media industries to ensure they have equal opportunities and that their talents do not go to waste.
It’s a sad fact that, in 2011, women made up only 19% of writers of British films released in the UK, and only 15% of directors. In other areas of the industry, such as camera departments, sound, and lighting, the figures are even bleaker.
Women have come a long way and are achieving amazing things in the UK film, TV and digital media industries, but there’s still a long way to go and that’s why we’re here to help. (Wftv.org.uk, 2014)
Women directors come together to tackle industry issues
Beryl Richards, DUK Board Member updates us on the first meeting of our female directors group.
Last week the women on the DUK board got together to discuss our concerns about women directors working in the industry. It was great to sit in the same room with six other working women directors from both factual/documentary and drama and discuss what’s going on out there and what to do about it. The room was buzzing with lots of ideas!
Like me, my drama colleagues were worried that it seems like there are no more women directors working in drama than there were 20 years ago. In factual there are more, but there’s a big drop off after the age of 35.
There are some worrying figures out there, such as a recent study out of University of California showing the percentage of women directing features has fallen from 9% to 5% in the last 10 years.
We’ve also had lots of great feedback from our women members on email about what’s happening to them. From the emails sent to us it struck all of us how isolating it can be to face these issues alone.
What we are going to do next is some initial research to look at how many women are working as directors in the different sectors and genres of television and film. Firstly we are going to research our own Directors UK data to show where women are working, and augment this information with other published research. Once we know what we are dealing with, we can work out strategies to respond. Other plans include events to celebrate the work of women filmmakers in both TV and film, and helping support women through role models, mentoring and training.
Soon we are going to hold a public meeting that we urge you all to attend, so we can share and air some of what is going on out there. And please do write to us before then to add your voice by emailing Victoria on firstname.lastname@example.org – all information will be treated confidentially.(Richards, n.d.)
We are a group of researchers, teachers, archivists, collections managers, students, professionals, and enthusiasts engaged in exploring the contributions women have made to the emergence and development of film and television.
We have come together to form the Women’s Film & Television History Network-UK/Ireland as a means of encouraging, supporting and disseminating research into women’s participation in screen media, and exploring their wide range roles, including:
· scriptwriting · producing · directing · designing costumes, sets, props · acting, dancing, singing · cinematography · sound design & recording · editing · music · distributing · trade reviewing · exhibition & cinema managing · audiences & fans · journalism, criticism.
By raising the visibility of women’s present and past relationship to cinema and television we aim to:
- ensure women’s work is recognised in the writing of screen histories.
- make a case for the preservation and availability of women’s films and television programmes
- increase programming choice in film theatres, television channels, DVD outlets
- encourage new approaches to film and television that are sensitive to gender, class and race
- impact on the teaching of screen media in schools and colleges
- raise the aspirations of young women who might seek careers in the media.
WFTHN focuses on British and Irish women working in the UK/Ireland or abroad and on overseas women working here. It is affiliated to Women & Film History International and encourages British and Irish contributions to international initiatives such as the Women Film Pioneers Database, the biennial international Women and Silent Screen conferences and the women’s television conference, Consoling Passions.
WFTHN is not based in a single institution but collaborates with a range of professional and academic organizations, archival collections and websites relevant to women’s filmmaking and television production such as the Women and Silent British Cinema (WSBC) website, Screenonline, the British Film Institute, The Women’s Library, WiFT (UK) and so on.
The Women’s Film & Television History Network-UK/Ireland began as a small, informal Women’s Film History group, itself inspired by a wider international movement.
Traditionally film history has paid little attention to the contribution of women to film history – other than as actresses. But from its beginning women have been active in and around cinema as directors, scriptwriters, designers, cinema owners, distributors, publicists, reviewers, audiences, campaigners and so on.
Consequently in the late 1990s an International Women Film Pioneers Project was initiated in America to address this gap in historical knowledge.
Now based in the Film Division at Columbia University, New York, it is paralleled by the biennial Women and Silent Screen Congresses staged in different countries since 2000. These initiatives are supported by the umbrella organisation, Women and Film History International.
Till recently this work has had little impact in Britain. The Women’s Film History Network-UK/Ireland was therefore initiated to promote and support research into women’s filmmaking history in Britain and Ireland, from the silent period to the present.
The Network was guided through its infancy under the dedicated leadership of its founder member Professor Christine Gledhill and, with help from, especially, Professor Julia Knight and other key founder members, it gained momentum following a successful bid for funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to set up a Women’s Film History Network-UK/Ireland in 2009. The AHRC gave our proposal its highest grade and we gratefully acknowledge its recognition of this neglected area of women’s history. Equally we are grateful to the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland in giving this award an institutional home.
Although funds were limited, they supported four interdisciplinary Workshops staged between 2009-2011. These Workshops drew on Network members according to expertise to form small working parties to address the conceptual and organisational issues involved in establishing the Network’s long-term function and infrastructure. Over the course of the funding period, the Network developed its online presence through its Wiki site created by Alexis Weedon and via members’ own activities, such as the Women and Silent British Cinema website co-developed by Clare Watson and Nathalie Morris. In April 2011, the Network held its inaugural conference entitled Doing Women’s Film History: Reframing Cinema Past and Future (hosted and supported by the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland), the success of which is an encouraging indication of the interest and quality of research in this area of film and television history. In part due to the contributions made by television history scholars at this conference and through discussions held in the Network’s workshops, a motion was passed in the summer of 2011 to widen the Network’s key focus to include women’s television history.
The history of the Network’s founding Workshops (2009-2011), its earlier work around silent cinema, and its first international conference are recorded on its archival Wiki, at the Women and Silent British Cinema website, and the conference blog.
Today, to ensure continuing core activities of the Women’s Film & Television History Network-UK/Ireland, a steering group of self-funding volunteers have taken on particular responsibilities in pairs or small sub-groups for two years, meeting three times a year to review and co-ordinate support activities and new developments. Steering group membership is drawn from volunteers nominated at WFTHN general meetings held at the biennial Doing Women’s Film & TV History conferences. However, volunteers may offer help or be co-opted in the interim.
We warmly invite new members to join the Network and to get involved with its concerns and activities. To join WFTHN, click here.