YouTube's Support For Women Filmmakers Is Terrific

by Emma Cueto

Despite the fact that women make up half the world's population, you wouldn't know it from Hollywood — either from the films that are put out or by looking at the people who make them. Women are underrepresented both in front of the camera and behind it, but YouTube is looking to change that dynamic by supporting women filmmakers with the YouTube Spaces Women's Program. Because just because traditional filmmaking shuts women out doesn't mean things have to be that way everywhere else.

Not so very long ago, YouTube launched their YouTube Spaces program, which maintains specially designated space for filmmakers to produce content and learn new skills in eight cities around the world. In addition to giving filmmakers more resources, YouTube is also using the program as a way to support women filmmakers. Make-up artist Alexys Flemming and the always delightful actress, filmmaker, and vlogger Anna Akana are among the creators chosen as creative director of the project, and YouTube stars like Michelle Phan and GloZell have already made films. And in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute and the United Nations, they're planning to keep supporting videos with women's perspective, which are sadly still a rarity in our culture.

"YouTube has always been a platform where women of all ages and backgrounds can find their voice and tell their stories," said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. "Through our global YouTube Spaces program and new partnership with the UN, we'll strengthen female voices on YouTube and around the world."

And to prove how awesome and empowering this whole thing could be, check out this film from the YouTube Spaces program:

This commitment on the part of YouTube is especially great considering that online spaces haven't always been the most accepting places for women. Pretty much everywhere on the Internet, women have disproportionately faced challenges ranging from sexist comments to outright harassment. Not only does this gendered backlash make it that much harder for content creators to keep, well, creating content, whether it's videos, writing, music, or art — but moreover, it's something that most creators who are men just don't have to deal with. This isn't to say that men aren't harassed online, too; the key words here, though, are "gendered" and "disproportionately." According to the Pew Research Center, 26 percent of women ages 18 to 24 have been stalked online, while 24 percent have experienced sexual harassment online; for men in the same age group, the percentages are seven percent and 13 percent, respectively. For all Internet users, they're eight percent and six percent.

So in the face of all that, it's awesome to see YouTube really stepping up and supporting women who make films on the site. Hopefully, it will make up for some of the negativity they have to deal with in other arenas, and help a new generation of women filmmakers hone their craft. Because we need more women's perspectives in film.

Plus, this whole thing looks awesome.

You can find more films from the YouTube Spaces Women's Program here.