Film ID:
NEFA 9664

COMMERCIAL BREAK: WOMEN

c.1988

Visitor Tabs

Description

A filmed sequence from the Tyne Tees Television programme Commercial Break looking at how women are getting a ‘raw deal’ in the current enterprise culture. The film includes interviews with Charlie Johnson, a freelance training consultant helping women into business in Cleveland, about the problems women face dealing with enterprise agencies and three women about their experiences of setting up and running their own businesses.

The film opens on Charlie Johnson walking hand-in-hand with her two young daughters along a suburban road. They turn into the gate of a house.

At a table inside the house Mrs Johnson says that enterprise agencies provide a reasonable service but the experience of many women is that they are not taken seriously. This is something that needs to be looked at and action taken.

The film cuts to a woman who is standing in front of shelving on which a number of jumpers are folded. She is wearing a jumper with the words ‘G-Shirt’ written across the front. She says that during the past 9 years it has been difficult as she has been patronised and not taken seriously as a business woman. She has had to fight to keep going.

The film cuts to a second woman who is standing in front of a rack of dresses. She says that they [the banks] think it [her business] needs ‘pin money’ and is a hobby or pastime. They don’t think that they [women] need to be at work, and that they have to put in the hours. They don’t think [women in business] is real.  

The film cuts to a third woman who is seated behind a craft-table. Various designs and patterns are laid out on the table where thread and other craft items can be seen on the wall beside her and on other tables behind her. She says that she did a training course at a polytechnic where the general advice to her was that she wouldn't make enough money to make a career and she ought to get a ‘proper’ job.

The film cuts back to Mrs Johnson who knows some women who have been asked to take their husbands along with them when they make appointments to talk about their business with their bank manager. She asks how many men are asked to bring their wives to talk about their business arrangements?

The film cuts back to the woman in the ‘G-Shirt’ jumper who says that she wanted to move into mail order as there was a gap in the market but she couldn't raise the funds as no one would take a chance on her. She was advised that if she wanted the money she should mortgage her home. Would anyone ask the same of a man?

The film cuts back to the woman beside the rack of dresses who says that when she was setting up her business she was asked if her husband worked and how solvent his finances were. They seemed to think she needed a guarantor and that she wasn't capable of paying back the loan by herself. She doesn't think they should ask such questions and so she decided ‘just to leave it’ and not borrow the money and not be dependent upon them.

The film cuts back to Mrs Johnson who says that it is easy for women to say ‘I’m not any good at this’. Women do want to work for themselves and they don’t want any concessions made for them. They can show that they can be as good as anyone else and they can make it. The report ends with Mrs Johnson saying that enterprise agencies need to take women more seriously.