Gender parity in the film industry in Morocco. Fiction or reality?

Convinced of the inequality of gender in the film industry in Morocco as in all the Maghreb countries, UNESCO has made it a priority for several years, as proof is the project entitled “Strengthening a sector. of gender-sensitive film in the Maghreb-Machrek region ”. An ambitious project with a significant budget. But money is not everything. With the idea that cinema is a powerful medium that reflects and shapes society and culture in various ways being consumed, gender disparities in the film industry are ultimately only a reflection of the imbalances that characterize our society. According to a study carried out by the Democratic Women’s Association of Morocco (ADFM), women represent 11.3% of the management committees and decision-making bodies of professional organizations in the film industry against 88.7% for their counterparts. male. Only two of the 18 film festivals held in the Kingdom are chaired by women. And finally, in 2018, female directors would have received 10 times less than directors in terms of advance on receipts, even if this last figure should be put into perspective because of the low number of female directors compared to that of men. Asked about the subject as part of a report to be published in our next edition, Moroccan comedian and actress Hanane El Fadili sums up the situation quite well with a touch of humor: “As I interpret male and female characters , I feel like I’m equal to myself. But it is true that as long as a woman has trouble going out alone, as long as a woman has trouble imposing herself on her own, without society imposing certain dogmas on her, the disparities will always be relevant. ” In the end, with a nuance. The ins and outs of the imbalance in the film industry are different from what you might think. Through various testimonies, Libé tried to shine the spotlight on an old sea serpent. A trend which is not about to be reversed, in the absence of a real collective and societal awareness, and a will politician determined to overthrow the pre-established order. Gendered or subordinate functions This male domination and, by extension, female under-representation in the film industry, is illustrated by women often assigned to traditionally gendered or subordinate functions. “Women are in fact almost absent from certain departments such as machinery, electricity, sound or assembly. But they are gradually appearing in the camera and assistantship departments. On the other hand, they are in the majority in certain departments such as production, make-up, hairdressing or script ”, abounds Hajar Belkasmi, production coordinator at K-Film. Laureate in editing at the Higher School of Visual Arts in Marrakech ten years ago, Hajar Belkasmi explains this bitter observation by the fact that women tend to move away “from technical positions or positions that require physical strength, to opt instead for administrative, organizational, artistic positions, or others linked to the sense of observation ”. “During my studies, I was the only woman in my specialty,” says Sanaa Fadel, sound engineer and also ESAV laureate. For her, the reasons for this imbalance are multiple, including the scarcity of audiovisual training “except for a single OFPPT center in Casablanca, ultra-selective, and which only accepted candidates with more than 14 average in the baccalaureate”, protested. she added: “A woman who has had an average of over 14 will move towards a more remunerative and conventional sector. Especially since in my time, there was no orientation or people who could make you want to join the film industry. ” If the pitfall of training is no longer relevant, as higher audiovisual institutions have grown in recent years like mushrooms in the fall, tuition fees and sidelines are a glass ceiling to which students are often faced ”. It is not easy to convince his parents not only to pay substantial tuition fees, but in addition, to speak only of my job as a sound engineer, it was also necessary to persuade them to buy equipment, that is to say a second investment. And all this before even being able to start working ”, explains Sanaa Fadel, who has had all the trouble in the world to obtain quality equipment. “This kind of information flows easily between men. They help each other and share supplier contacts with each other, ”she regrets, without feeling sorry for her fate. A latent sexism Her strength of character and her determination have enabled her to find a place of choice in a profession which usually leaves too little for women. And this, despite sexist remarks like “a woman sound engineer?”. Remarks which for a long time seemed trivial but which should no longer be. Because these behaviors have a hard tooth, even though some start from a good feeling: “There were attitudes that bothered me, like when everyone always wants to help me, when I am used to working. alone. Certainly, it’s more kindness, but I had the impression that they belittled me, that they thought that I was incapable of it ”. Hajar Belkasmi assures us, for her part, “in no way to feel the inequality of the genders”. However, before turning to the profession of production coordinator, “I did a short stint in a Moroccan advertising production company where I was the only female editor in a predominantly male company,” she recalls. On the other hand, she readily concedes that “the society in which I currently work is perfectly egalitarian, probably because it is run by a woman, who, on the other hand, is in the minority in her position since there are fewer producers than producers” . In other words, when women are in power, gender inequalities are more difficult to take root. “In my opinion, being led by a woman, in this case Ms. Khadija Alami, also shows that sometimes a woman’s best strength is the woman,” continues Hajar Belkasmi. “Sometimes I would do it on purpose to hire a woman as an assistant or as a Perchewomen,” Sanaa Fadel tells us, “because I know I get on better with her. And if we have to rent a room or an apartment, we will be more comfortable between women ”.