To celebrate 2023 International Women’s Day (or International Women’s Week as we like to celebrate it) we interviewed five amazing women about what International Women’s Day means to them, who their inspirations are and what the film and events industries need to do to keep fighting for diversity, inclusion and equity.
Today, we hear from Fleur Decam, Head of Production at member film production company Plastic Pictures.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? What do you think some of the key issues facing women in the world today are?
For me International Women’s Day holds a duality.
On the one hand, it gives recognition for how far women and society have come compared to the not-so-distant past. International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month feel hopeful and positive, as light is shone on all the incredible activists, writers, academics and role models working to highlight and improve gender inequality.
On the other hand, the day also highlights the complexities of progress. There are gains in some parts of society and then there are losses in others. Gaps close and gaps open.
Looking back at my teens, culture and media was fixated with unrealistic hyper-thin female bodies, portraying one dimensional female characters in misogynistic narratives. It is only with hindsight that I see how damaging that time was in terms of my own self-esteem and how I understood my place in the world. Thankfully, there have been leaps and bounds even in the past 20 years in terms of more realistic and complex female representation on screen.
But for all the progress, parts of society are now taking backwards leaps. Reproductive rights being taken out of the control of everyday women is terrifying as much as it is regressive for society as a whole. The prevalence of gender based violence all over the world is continuing. These problems stem, fundamentally, from people perceiving women as less than equal. From socialisation, education, culture, and institutions – there needs to be a paradigm shift in terms of how women are perceived by society as a whole to effect widespread and permanent change.
Can you tell us about a woman who has inspired you in your life and/ or career?
Yes, my grandmother. She was a curious, creative, funny, and intelligent woman born too early. From a far stricter generation, she couldn’t fulfil her academic desires or her potential generally. She inspired me to be inquisitive, ask questions and to appreciate the freedoms I have as a woman today.
The industry is making strides to become more diverse and inclusive. Where would you like to see it change further and how do you think we, as an industry, can affect that change?
Greater representation in industry events is important. Also, giving more opportunities to young people entering the industry and casting the net wider so people from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to join early on will help to affect lasting change in the industry.
What do you love about the industry, and your role within it?
Working as Head of Production, for a small but mighty agency, I am able to use my voice and ideas to shape how we do things at Plastic Pictures. My favourite aspect of my role is meeting people and that’s usually in the guise of finding talent. The welfare of my team is paramount. Both life and work can be hard and stressful, so I strive to make our little corner of the universe a good, welcoming, kind place where people feel challenged yet supported to grow in their career.
What would you say to people, and especially women and non-binary people, considering entering the industry?
There is an important place for you in this industry! Companies are understanding the moral obligation and business value in embracing and actively seeking diversity in the workplace. Diverse thinking, ideas, and experience are necessary for this industry to stay relevant and to grow.
Can you recommend a resource (book, film, podcast etc) you think everyone should engage with this International Women’s Day? OR a charity you think people who are able to should consider donating to this International Women’s Day?
I really love listening to the podcast How I Found My Voice. I find it inspirational to hear stories of how writers, broadcasters and artists became successful in their craft. It’s also presented by Samira Ahmed who has had an amazing career and is an inspiration herself.