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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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