Brussels says: Ladies First

Upon receiving the Academy Award for Best Actress, Frances McDormand said, “If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight. The film makers, the producers, the writers, directors, the cinematographers, the composers, the songwriters, the singers, everyone. Come on.” She then asked everyone in the audience to look around them, to take a moment to notice all the women that are involved in the creation of movies. “They all have different projects,” McDormand went on, “projects that need to be financed. And you have to talk to them.” Joyful cheering and applause filled the room.


Over the last few years, there’s been a much-needed push to raise awareness about the misalignment of representation between actual demographics and the narratives told and commercialized, not only in the film industry but in the arts in general – the focus on cinema being due to its impact. But despite those campaigns, the statistics reveal that women’s voices and other underrepresented groups remain on the sidelines. Only a few hours after the 90th Oscar’s Ceremony, a chart on social media keeps being shared across platforms: “Women speak significantly less than men on all the Best Picture Movies.” Why is this still happening in 2018? And what can one do to change it?

Every day, every week is an opportunity to raise awareness, especially a few days before International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. Given the importance of fostering diversity and having a fairer representation in society, from March 5th until 11th, the City of Brussels is organizing Ladies First: a series of debates, film screenings and panel discussions in different venues such as the City Hall, Tels Quels, La Maison de Quartier Buanderie, Cinema Galeries, Maison de la Creation. The topics range from discrimination at work, domestic violence, rape and accountability, to women in science, women and immigration, the meaning of femininity, adolescence and sexuality, among many others. Entrance to the majority of events is free but requires previous registration.