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Gender Matters Results 2021/22

Screen Australia has met the goal of the Gender Matters KPI: 55% of key creative roles across approved development and production funding were women across the three-year reporting period. However, there was a downward trend across the reporting period, and more work needs to be done.

The KPI was that at least 50% of the key creative roles (writers, producers and directors) across all projects that receive Screen Australia development and production funding would be women, across a three-year average (2019/20 to 2021/22). While the 55% final average exceeds this target, the trend across the three years is down, beginning with 57% in 2019/20, then 55% in 2020/21, and 52% in 2021/22. New areas of focus for the agency include feature drama development, documentary development and online drama. Women had stronger participation in key roles in TV/VOD drama development and production, and documentary production.

Outside of the KPI, industry-wide data collated by Screen Australia shows women are still underrepresented in all key roles, except for producers in TV drama and online, but gains have been made across all categories (as outlined in the data below).

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Louise Gough said, “While we are pleased to have met the target of the KPI, and acknowledge that Gender Matters has had great impact since its launch in 2015, the data shows that even with this type of intervention there is still much more work needed to support equity on and off screen.”

“We are also aware that the conversation around gender equality has advanced since the program launched, and we are in the process of reviewing how Screen Australia’s work to support women fits in with a broader strategy around intersectionality and diversity. For this reason we are extending the existing KPI for another year and the existing method will be maintained while we consider how we report and target this issue.”

“We are at a historical juncture and we remain committed to increasing the participation of women, and at the same time focusing on how gender fits into a broader context. We need to ensure these measures fit together to support an inclusive and equitable screen industry in Australia both above and below the line.”

“We were thrilled to see Renee Webster’s How to Please a Woman and Leah Purcell’s The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson as the top two Screen Australia-funded films at the box office this year, and How to Please a Woman has sold to more than 30 territories. We also saw writer/director Jub Clerc’s debut feature Sweet As make its international premiere at TIFF and become the first Australian film to win the NETPAC Award for Best Asian feature film. Other female-led projects released this year include features Blaze, Seriously Red, Nude Tuesday and Petrol plus television series Savage River, The Secrets She Keeps series 2 and feature documentary River. These successes are testament to the talented women working in our sector and proof that content made by women makes sense critically, commercially and globally; and we must continue to find pathways so women creatives have better access and opportunity to tell their stories on screen.”


The data set that informs the KPI includes Screen Australia-funded applications in both production and development. This is the third year detailed data on development applications has been available.

The overall results for 2021/22 show that the category with the highest percentage of women key creatives across approved applications was TV/VOD drama development at 66%, and the lowest percentage was 39% for feature drama development.

Documentary production continues to track upwards, beginning at 46% in 2019/20, increasing to 50% in 2020/21 and now at 59% in 2021/22. Meanwhile feature drama production (52% in 2021/22) and TV/VOD drama production (55% in 2021/22) have remained fairly stable across the three years. There remains, however, significant differences within most categories across key roles. The results are explored below, and the full data is available here.


  • In TV/VOD drama production, over time there has been a trend upward for women in all key creative roles. Looking only at 2020/21 compared to 2021/22, there was a slight increase from 59% to 61% for women producers, a small drop for women directors from 57% to 52% and similarly, a small drop for women writers, from 56% to 53%. Overall, the three-year averages in each role are above parity, and the results in 2021/22 (55%) are a marked increase from the initial year of reporting in 2016/17 (47%).
  • Huge gains have been made overall in feature drama production since 2016/17, when all key creative roles sat at 27%. Since 2019/20, women have made up more than 50% of key roles in approved Screen Australia applications. While this overall number is positive, drilling down into the data shows the majority of these gains have been made by female producers, which even after dropping from a high of 70% in 2020/21 to 63% in 2021/22, are still well above parity. Comparatively, in 2021/22 writers increased from 33% to 44%, so still below parity, while directors had a 12 percentage point drop from 45% to 33% - well below parity and the three-year average.
  • In online drama production the result for all key creative roles sits at 52%, which is slightly down from the 2020/21 high of 56%, but still above parity and higher than any other year since 2016/17. The percentage of producers, similar to television and features, is well above the other key creative roles and matched last financial year’s high of 67%. For women writers, there was a 4% drop to 50% in 2021/22, but the result was still at parity and a large improvement since the 34% of 2016/17. Female directors is an area of focus, with a 10% drop to 37% - below the three-year average of 42% and below the 2016/17 results. This category was heavily influenced by initiatives, including titles from Digital Originals, Every Voice, Out Now and Skip Ahead 7.
  • Increases were made in 2021/22 across every data point for documentary production. Female participation across all key creative roles was up 9% from the previous year to finish on a high of 59%. For producers, there was a jump from 56% in 2020/21 to 67% in 2021/22. For directors, it was a 9% increase to above parity at 55% - a large gain considering that result was 37% in 2016/17 and 2019/20. Improvements were also seen for female writers, from 43% in 2020/21 to 51% in 2021/22. This marked the first time female writers have achieved a result above parity in this category, which included documentaries across all screens.


  • In TV/VOD drama development, overall, the total percentage of women key creatives approved in this category increased from 61% in 2020/21 to 66% in 2021/22. All roles have been at or above parity for the past three years. Looking at the key roles individually, producers increased to a three-year high of 73%, women directors rose slightly to 53% and writers remained relatively stable, dropping just one percentage point to 64%.
  • There was a drop for all key creative roles in feature drama development. In 2019/20 the women were 58% of all key creative roles: this decreased to 53% in 2020/21 and 39% in 2021/22. While producers are well represented across the data sets, feature drama development is the only category where women producers did not achieve parity in funded roles. After two years at 55%, in 2021/22 the proportion dropped to 46%. A similar result of 44% was recorded in 2021/22 for female directors in feature development, which was a slight drop, but a downward trend across the three years. Writers had the biggest drop in female participation, and recorded the lowest percentage for any key creative role in any category for 2021/22, with 29%, down from 54% in 2020/21.
  • In online drama development, the total percentage of women key creatives approved remained stable, but below parity, at 44% in 2021/22. For producers, there was a 7% drop to 50%, while directors had a 12% increase to also achieve 50%. Writers dropped 2% to achieve 38% in 2021/22.
  • Documentary development recorded significant falls in women’s roles. Women made up 59% of roles in approved applications in 2019/20, and 62% in 2020/21, but this fell to 45% in 2021/22. Producing roles fell to just above parity at 52%. Women were 43% of directors, down from 61% the year before, and the percentage of women writers almost halved – falling from 65% to a three-year low of 36% in 2021/22.


Screen Australia also tracks data that falls outside of the KPI. This includes protagonist data across successful Screen Australia applications for feature, online and television drama development and production, in order to monitor representation on screen. Screen Australia also tracks games development data – a new funding area for the agency in 2021/22.

In addition, the agency tracks industry-wide data, which includes titles that do not receive Screen Australia funding, as well as titles that do. The industry-wide data can indicate if and where progress is being made across the screen sector in key creative roles. This data takes more time to compile, and 2020/21 results are now available.


In 2021/22, Screen Australia began tracking the new funding category of games development. It’s worth noting that in games, the term ‘development’ is akin to ‘production’ in film/television/online (learn more in the Games Funding 101 Podcast here). Additionally, the key creative roles are different. To track this data, Screen Australia split roles into two categories: ‘creative’ roles such as lead designer or composer, and ‘business’ roles such as CEO and consultant. Some roles mix both categories (such as art director), and those roles were counted twice – once for ‘creative’ and once for ‘business’.

Across all key roles, 24% were women, with women in 26% of ‘creative’ roles and 22% of ‘business’ roles. A higher percentage of women were approved than were declined in both categories. The agency is considering measures in this area to address significant inequalities across the industry.


  • Protagonist data has been released since 2016/17 across production applications, which gives a wider view of change of on-screen representation in Screen Australia-funded projects. Protagonist data in drama development has been tracked since 2019/20. Protagonist data does not count towards the current KPI.
  • Women were at least the majority of protagonists in successful production applications for feature, TV/VOD and online drama. Feature film continues to grow year-on-year, beginning at 27% in 2016/17, and now at a high of 63% in 2021/22. TV/VOD has experienced a strong trend up across the years, with a 6% drop in 2021/22, but still at 55%. Meanwhile online has been above parity since 2018/19 and had a slight increase from 51% to 54% in 2021/22.
  • Protagonist data in drama development showed the representation of female protagonists is particularly strong in TV/VOD, with 69% in 2021/22. In feature drama development, the lowest result so far over the three years was recorded in 2021/22, yet it is still above parity at 55%. Online development experienced the biggest drop, falling to 35%: this result was significantly influenced by protagonists that were not male or female making up 20% of the total.


Screen Australia measures drama and documentary production across the entire industry, not just within titles funded by the agency. 10 years of data is now provided across two five-year datasets. As mentioned earlier, this data takes more time to compile, so results are now available for 2020/21. Published data only covers producers, directors and writers, but there are many other screen industry roles where work needs to be done to achieve equity.

  • Feature drama shows encouraging signs of improvement, although men still dominate writer, producer and director roles. Women have increased to 31% of directors in the most recent five years, up from 16% at the start of the decade. Meanwhile across the reporting periods, female writers increased from 23% to 30% and producers from 35% to 42%.
  • For TV drama, there is similarly upward progress, and higher results in each category than feature drama. Women were 55% of producers in the recent five-year reporting period, and 51% across the 10 years. In the most recent five years, writers are almost at parity at 48%, and while increases have been made for directors too, to 36%, there’s still significant work to be done to achieve parity.
  • In documentary, the results are fairly stable or with slight improvements, but still below parity. Producers are close, as 49% of producers were women across 2016/17-2020/21, while small increases were seen for directors (up 2%) and writers (up 3%) across the two reporting periods.
  • Online drama is reported differently. It only has one result over 10 years, due to the low number of online dramas made at the start of the decade. Across the reporting period, 62% of producers were women, along with 41% of directors and 45% of writers.

Chair of the Gender Matters Taskforce, Screen Australia Board member and acclaimed producer Joanna Werner said, “When we look at the industry-wide data, we can see that despite significant improvements, there is still a long way to go especially in feature film. The Gender Matters Taskforce remains committed to enabling equal and fair representation and participation of women in our sector. We will continue to leverage our different areas of expertise to drive cultural change, advise Screen Australia, and create career pathway opportunities like the Credit Maker initiative, which is currently underway supporting women directors, cinematographers and composers to gain credits in their field.”


Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.
In this document, terms such as female, woman and women are all used to describe gender, rather than biological sex at birth.

Data related to Screen Australia funding applications (including the Screen Australia KPI)
Data is based on funding applications: applicants nominate the gender of writer, producer, director and other roles, selecting either ‘female’, ‘male’, ‘X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified)’, or prefer not to disclose. Screen Australia is considering updates to these terms, including the most recent guidance from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Across all applications from 2019/20 to 2021/22, less than 1% of key roles were marked ‘prefer not to disclose’.
All documentary titles, including titles funded by the Online and First Nations departments, are categorised as Documentary. Producer Equity Program (PEP) documentary projects are excluded as they do not undergo creative assessment.
Drama applications are generally sorted by funding program. In 2020/21, the ‘TV drama’ category was re-titled to ‘TV/VOD’, following Screen Australia’s production funding program. 2019/20 title With or Without You was funded via Feature Production, but is categorised here as Feature Development, as the funding went to Development-like activities.
Titles that receive drama development funding are categorised by their intended first release platform.
Decisions to approve or decline funding are counted. Decisions to advance a title to a further stage of assessment are not counted. Note, some titles have multiple funding decisions in a single year. Variations to funding for the same activity, such as production funding variations, are not counted.
Includes Screen Australia initiatives administered by third parties where data is available. Data was not available for unsuccessful applications for one initiative in 2019/20 and two initiatives in 2021/22.
Some titles, such as anthologies, involve larger numbers of creative roles. The 2019/20 dataset involves two anthologies approved for feature production funding: Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply/ Nga Pouwhenua and Here Out West. Anthologies did not have significant influence on the 2020/21 or 2021/22 data.
Application dataset is more expansive than the 2015 report Gender Matters: Women in the Australian Screen Industry, and is not directly comparable.
Specific notes on writer, producer and director data
Writer, producer and director roles are counted. Credits such as ‘creative producer’ are evaluated.
Applications data measures each writer, producer or director role: individuals that serve in multiple roles are counted for each role.
Writer, producer and director roles are based on the most recent information processed in Screen Australia’s applications database.
Specific notes on Protagonist data
Protagonists are measured for drama only (not documentary). Please note that Protagonist data is not included in Screen Australia’s 2019/20 to 2021/22 KPI.
Data is based on information available at time of application. Applicants were provided with a definition of Protagonist. Protagonists were then verified by application assessors.
Titles such as anthologies and ensemble dramas with large numbers of protagonists are included. Sketch comedies with large numbers of non-recurring characters are excluded.

Specific notes on Games development data
Key roles were designated by applicants. Due to the large variety of roles in games development, Screen Australia evaluated applications and categorised roles as 'Creative' or 'Business'.
Individuals that serve in multiple roles are counted for each role. Data is based on the most recent information processed in Screen Australia’s application database.

Industry-wide data
Data shows the percentage of individuals with credits: individuals are counted once.
Gender data is based on information provided to Screen Australia, and some publically-sourced information.
Title data is based on Screen Australia production statistics. Data is indicative as some titles do not provide or publish information. Data is subject to revision. See here for more: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/production-trends 
Titles that premiere in Australia online are classified as Online drama. Titles that have a simultaneous TV broadcast and online release are categorised as TV Drama. Online data is aggregated across all years due to the low number of titles created in the early 2010s, and a change to tracking criteria in 2017. See here for more: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/production-trends/online-drama Screen Australia will introduce revised categorisation for Australian drama in the next Drama Report, to be published towards the end of 2022.
10 years of data is now available. As a consequence, the 15/16 production year has been sorted into a different subset than in the nine years of data published in 2021.