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Keira Knightley: “Where Are the Female Stories? Where Are the [Women] Directors and Writers?”

Keira Knightley: "Where Are the Female Stories? Where Are the [Women] Directors and Writers?"

Keira Knightley has spoken out once again about the adverse consequences of the film industry’s gender-lopsidedness. 

“Where are the female stories?” she asked rhetorically in a new interview promoting “The Imitation Game,” in which she has a supporting role. “Where are the directors, where are the writers? It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else, where is that? … I think the pay [gap in the entertainment business] is a huge thing, but I’m actually more concerned over the lack of our voices being heard.” 

Knightley suggested she might have been attracted to the role of code-breaker Joan Clarke in the Best Picture nominee because the biopic allowed her to play a female character in a professional context. “I think it is interesting that for women in film, the problems they face are generally put into the sphere of home and family and not into the workplace. Joan’s real struggles were to get her rightful ‘place at the table,’ and then once she was there, equal pay, which she never came close to.” Knightley’s observations about women characters is confirmed by research, which finds that male film characters are nearly twice as likely to be identified with a job as his female counterparts, despite real-life women making up 47% of the workforce in 2010.   

Knightley concluded, “I don’t know what happened through the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s that took feminism off the table, that made it something that women weren’t supposed to identify with and were supposed to be ashamed of. Feminism is about the fight for equality between the sexes, with equal respect, equal pay, and equal opportunity. At the moment we are still a long way off that.”

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Ali D

Alliance women of directors above is only open to women who already have a credit under their belt, like most ways the industry works. But how do we get into and industry when you have to have had experience and you cant get it. chicken and egg scenario

Ali D

We are in NZ trying to get a break into the industry. And its definitely a who you know industry. I have been trying to get my scripts made for over ten years and have decided to go it alone. Lack of fudning is always the case because they want to fund smaller budget films, not big budget. I would love to come try in US but how do I get meetings? Producers cant afford to help you pay to get editing advice or help you develop. They want absolutley ready to go perfect scritps from the set. So most of the funding comes from the unpaid write. Not a sustainable career here in NZ unless you go it alone.

Alma Alexander

Oh, we’re out there. Keira Knightley, I’ve got something you might be interested in looking at – a nice juicy part for you to play. Several, in fact. How do I get anybody to look at it?…


Victoria apparently knows how first readers kill chances of a script. There should be a better way, a growing trust that someone won’t take ideas and run away with them. Developing new writers might endanger those scrambling to maintain top acceptance.


Where are they? I will tell you! Right in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada. My daughter sherona sinclair & husband Aaron sinclair are very talented in their skills in what they do as a team! The two of them & their film crew are showing Saskatchewan that there can be a filming industry been down here! A few years ago Saskatchewan took the film tax out & there fore a lot moved away! Not my daughter! She & her company that they own & operate called crushedrockets are making this still happen in Saskatchewan!They are a small company so far but you got to start somewhere! They already won a award for their short film called Blue also best picture!now they are in the works with the next film called The Nightrunner!i truely think this will be a great film! Check them out and take a look at them you will not be dissappointed


Ian, since 2010 she’s been in three small indie films written and directed by women. Two of them with debut directors. That’s far above the average.

Liz Manashil

Second-ing Victoria and Dobes – However, us female writers and directors need to do our part by producing low budget content to get our names out there, start establishing our reputations, and making connections in the industry. All filmmakers should not shy away from microbudget stories – and a lot of actors WILL work for scale if they are on board with the script. So,yes, there are some managers and agents that do not pass along scripts- but there are a lot of us who don’t even risk trying to get our material to talent because of lack of resources. Let’s all (men and women) be creative in our projects in terms of budget and scope.


Maybe as someone who has made a lot of money from the industry she is part of, she could put her money where her mouth is and let some lesser known women have a share of her limelight and forego her huge fees to give other women a chance.


I just finished my first feature screenplay and looking to put it out there, so soon, women, soon!

Nance Parry

I’ve written 9 women’s scripts. The challenge is getting them read. I’m having to resort to pitching on YouTube (see "An Open letter to Meryl Streep")
Don’t just talk the talk, Keira, walk the walk. Demand that your agent/manager read women’s scripts.


I agree with Victoria Sampson. Managers and agents don’t let "small" aka female-driven stories through to A-list actors. Actresses like Ms. Knightley and others who have spoken out on this topic should act on it by refusing to play typical female roles, and by telling their managers and agents they want scripts written by women and women directors. Producers will not take female stories unless they see a way to make money from them, and well-known actors insisting on these scripts is one way to do it.

Victoria Sampson

We’re here! Check out allianceofwomendirectors dot com. We’re here and ready to direct, write, produce, edit , shoot! It’s hard to get you, the actors, great stories because sometimes agents and managers won’t let us get through to you!

LeonRaymond Mitchell

Keira Knightley I am here please I am one of the few men who love and do write female centric stories. Right now I have two on the verge of getting produced and getting set to write another but we are out there searching-hoping-wanting the chance to get our stuff done-produced with talent like you and many other women attached. I dig it I truly understand!!!


She’s right. For all that women are 50% of movie-goers, most of the stories and movies are still about men and their struggles and hardly contain a female perspective.

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