FIA Global Diversity Working Group Meeting in London – 1 October 2022

Diversity and inclusion Gender Equality Sexual Harassment LGBTQ+ Racial Equality and Ethnic Diversity Disability FIA News

The FIA Global Diversity Working group (GDWG) is a thematic working group created during FIA’s 2016 Congress held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with the aim of discussing diversity and inclusion at large. Areas of work can include gender equality, sexual harassment, race and ethnicity, issues faced by LGBT performers, disabled performers etc.

The GDWG met on Saturday 1 October in London, in conjunction with the FIA Executive Committee meetings. It gathered over 30 international delegates and was chaired by Katja Holm and Duncan-Crabtree-Ireland from SAG-AFTRA and Anouk Van den Bussche from FIA. Due to international context and events, several subgroups have emerged from the global group and have been particularly active over the past couple years, such as the Sexual Harassment working group, the LGBTQ+ working group and more recently the Racial Equality and Ethnic Diversity working group.

The meeting started with reports from each subgroup. Arden Rysphan (CAEA, Canada) reported on the continued effort of the Sexual harassment working group (SHWG) to share good-practices and tools and informed participants about the need to gather more specific content regarding Intimacy Coordination. Alicia Dogliotti (SUA, Uruguay) also shared information about a wide regional survey and campaign on SH in Latin America and proposed to merge the SHWG and the Gender Equality working group in order to optimize participation and efficiency.

Duncan Crabtree Ireland and Jorge Aguirre (SAG-AFTRA, USA) reported on behalf of the LGBT+ WG. They informed participants about ongoing work to publish the results of the FIA survey carried out with SAG-AFTRA years ago and shared the groups concern and desire for more authenticity and representation of marginalized LGBT+ communities.

Ian Manborde (Equity UK) briefly recalled the ongoing Webinars series on Racial Equality and Ethnic Diversity organised by FIA. He also reported on his union effort to capitalise on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but despite the increase of ethnically diverse actors roles, the union unfortunately also recorded an increase in racist discrimination plus casual racist language in the workplace. Emilie Meeus (SFA, France) reported on her union’s recently created anti-racist commission and their will to collect data and create safe spaces for people of colour within the industry.

This session was concluded by a Keynote speech from Nathalie Amber, Actor & Member of Equity UK Deaf & Disabled Committee, on intersectionality. Amber shared her experience as a disabled performer and activist, talking about stereotyping, lack of appropriate access and the importance of equal opportunities for all workers.

The second part of the meeting focussed on the question: How to organise marginalised workers? First-up was Kate Shindle (Equity US) who reported on her unions’ recent work to help unionise and protect strip-club dancers. The stripers united campaign received overwhelming support from members and organising these stigmatized and marginalised workers is setting an inspiring example. Next up was Tigger Blaize, Actor & Vice Chair of Equity UK LGBT+ Committee, who gave a compelling testimony about challenges faced by marginalized LGBT+ members including the lack of diversity for trans roles, far right groups attacks in UK, and risks of sexual abuse.

Finally the participants were invited to split up in smaller groups for a ‘Worldcafe’ type of activity. Each group was invited to identify who the marginalised workers are in their specific country and sector; how they can best reach out to them, and how to get them truly engaged in the union. Each group then reported back and discussed the wide variety of experiences and challenges faced by unions on this topic.


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