Friday, September 24

The number of professional female artists is skyrocketing


“I also want to be wrong. I also want to do shit. I want my fucking trick.” A few months ago the actress and screenwriter Celia de Molina complained on the PlayZ channel about the film failures signed by men that the billboard spits out weekly and they are forgiven. The cry “I want my truño”, which champions the aspirations of a creative industry that takes slight steps towards equality, is recalled by Borja Cobeaga. The filmmaker and president of the Audiovisual Media Copyright Society (DAMA) was a few days ago in one of the narrow rooms of the Ministry of Culture, meeting with Minister Miquel Iceta, to tell him about the needs of the authors.

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Cobeaga was not alone. On one side of the table the minister sat and opposite Antonio Fernández (ADEPI), Daniel Fernández (CEDRO), Luis Cobos (AIE), Antonio Guisasola (AGEDI), Emilio Gutiérrez Caba (AISGE), Enrique Cerezo (EGEDA) and Borja Cobeaga (DAMA). That same day he held a meeting with Antonio Onetti (SGAE). In the room he only found one woman, Adriana Moscoso, general director of Cultural Industries, Intellectual Property and Cooperation. Intellectual property is not a woman’s name, as was clear from the leadership of the union. “I am in my last year in office and the next presidency should be that of a woman,” Cobeaga explained to elDiario.es before the panorama.

The news is not the tradition that makes privileges strong, but the symptoms of fracture: the number of creators who defend their copyrights through copyright management societies is growing and the number of works by women is also increasing. in the register of intellectual property, according to the data made public by the Ministry of Culture. In 2013, the creators associated with one of the four most important copyright management entities in this country totaled 27,663. In just six years this figure has grown by 26.7%, and represents a total of 35,066 women. In the same period of time – between 2013 and 2019 – men grew by 17.7% (122,135 creators). That is, women represent 22.3% of the total. Although it is a figure very far from parity, nine years ago they barely exceeded 21%.

Motherhood expels from creation

In the distribution of members among the four main entities, the society that comes closest to equality is DAMA (audiovisuals), with 37.7% women of the total number of members. VEGAP (plastic artists) adds 36.5% of women in its group. CEDRO (books, magazines, newspapers and scores), 35.7%. And far from equality, the SGAE (music, audiovisual and scenic), where they are barely 19.3% of the total associated fabric. “Indeed it is a low percentage”, recognizes Rubén Gutiérrez, General Director of the SGAE Foundation, who two years ago carried out a study that confirmed that one of the problems that women have is the lack of support in their environment to make their vocation your profession. Eat what you feed. Calls for public and private structural measures to alter this and recognize female authorship careers. “The report also showed that motherhood supposes an expulsion from the creative field. We started a program of labor reintegration of these slowed professions,” adds Gutiérrez, who is hopeful about the path towards equality that Spanish society has slowly started. In the Board of Directors of the SGAE there are nine women out of a total of 39 members, 23%.

“Although we have made progress, we still have a long way to go. We are far from the 40% with which we would begin to talk about a certain balance. The authors need more trust and recognition. In this, rights management societies must take sides and create campaigns that activate measures to promote the dissemination of the works of the creators “, explains Virginia Yagüe, screenwriter, producer, writer and former president of the Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media (CIMA). The photo of the meeting between the masculinized dome of Intellectual Property with the Minister of Culture also seems “shocking”.

Despite being far from parity, Yagüe believes that this growth is due to the activity and insistence of groups such as CIMA. “Now it is very difficult to find teams without women,” he adds. But he clarifies that they are diluted between the teams and disappear as authors. This also causes the feminine point of view in the cultural narrative to be diluted. “And the female spectators want to find themselves in the eyes of the story,” he recalls.

The normalization of feminism

The reason for this growth, according to Remedios Zafra, is found in the establishment of gender studies and the dissemination of research and works on women written by women. “It has been a great impulse for researchers and students to see themselves as authors. And in something it must have helped to blur the asymmetry that has always existed. We have also seen a greater socialization of feminism, finally reaching daily life and debates, also to the media and publishers. Its normalization helps “, says the essayist, author of The enthusiasm. Precariousness and creative work in the digital age (Anagrama, 2017).

Zafra emphasizes that until now women had resigned themselves to seeing their work as a hobby or putting it in the background with respect to their family life or that other professional life different from the creative one. “The empowerment of women has to do with the fact that they now feel more support and it is easier for them to project themselves as writing professionals, something that before perhaps only the rich or the brave men could do,” he says. It also points out that the association and collectivization of female creators is a phenomenon that has grown a lot in the last decade. “It was to be expected that we would begin to see more women in entities that deal with the professionalization of creative practice. The increase is in turn something contagious that surely encourages and will encourage more”, ditch the author of Fragile (Anagram).

More registered works

Jorge Corrales, CEO of CEDRO, explains that the last ISBN discovered that 40% of the titles of the published literature were the work of women, although in his entity they are 35.7% of the partners. She assures that they want to increase the number of female writers represented, but she also recognizes that she does not have any campaign in place for this. Some “sounds” to him during the previous presidency, with Carme Riera. And he explains that “artistic creation as a way of life is complicated in general”.

However, the growth in the defense of authorship rights and that of works included in the Intellectual Property registry point to an increase in the benefits of women as cultural creators. In other words, greater recognition as creative professionals. The change in inertia is slight but striking: the works registered by women in 2013 were 11,653, and in 2019 they amounted to 12,367. This is an increase of 6.1% and in none of the registered years did the calculation go back. This data is very eloquent about the increase in the new female story to which Virgina Yagüe referred.

In 2019, men totaled 21,093 registered works, which was a 13.6% drop compared to 2013. Despite this, it is almost twice as many works as those signed by women. By disciplines, in 2019 the one that came closest to parity was the plastic arts: they registered 952 works and they 874 (47.8% of the total). Javier Gutiérrez, president of VEGAP, believes that there are more artists than members, but that “only those who have a vocation to live from it join.” Recognize that if you are a woman “it is more difficult for you to be an art professional.”

A slow evolution

Musical works reveal the most unequal brand of all creative disciplines: 4,070 compared to 1,189 (22.6% of the total). Literature discovers 12,302 works by them and 8,344 of them (40.4%). Cinematographic and audiovisual creations remain at 32.5% (509 compared to 245). Borja Cobeaga believes that there is still a large bag of creators lacking and that it will grow only if references are generated in society. He explains that a woman directs or writes a film is very important and says that the problem has been pointed out and there is a struggle to rectify it, “but slowly”. “This is not evolving at the rate we want,” he adds.

The director of Faith of ETA (2017) that in the coming months DAMA will publish a report on filmmakers and the survey reveals that if the most important thing for female directors is recognition, for directors it is getting along with the producer. This is Cobeaga’s conclusion: “What it costs them is to assert themselves, but not make a film with a low budget.” They want recognition to succeed and to be able to make mistakes.



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