Amanda Mealing has said she hopes a Bafta initiative to connect women in the entertainment industry will give the next generation a “purpose and understanding” to ask for equal opportunities.
The Holby City and Casualty actress is among a number of leading figures from across the industry who are supporting Bafta Connects.
The initiative will connect 19 up-and-comers hoping to build a career in film, games or television with leading women in those fields.
Mealing told the PA news agency: “I have always been very keen to have a stronger female representation in the film and TV industry.
“I’ve worked in it for over 40 years and in the more senior positions I’ve rarely seen a strong female representation in forms of producers, directors and commissioners and things like that, so I’ve always been really, really keen on that.
“I have a production company and that is a really strong part of our philosophy, so I think in the wider context I think it’s going to take a generation at least to really see these changes, and it has to start now and by women like myself who’ve been in the industry a long time and have all of that experience, to share that with a woman who is starting out, we can pass on all our experience and knowledge and ensure that that is the starting block for that new wave.”
Sex Education creator Laurie Nunn and Bafta and Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell are also among the figures taking part in Bafta Connects.
Mealing said she hoped it would help the next generation if they were “starting on the right foot with the right sense of purpose and I suppose understanding that it is fair for us to ask for an equal opportunity”.
“I never had anything like this growing up and I really wish that there had been a woman-to-woman mentoring scheme… so that’s what it is, we will make a faster change with the industry from the inside if the next generation are starting off from a stronger point.”
Amanda Berry, chief executive of Bafta, said: “We’re delighted to be facilitating these connections between brilliant women with amazing careers and aspiring women from across the UK who are looking to build a career within film, games or television.
“Bafta works year-round to support emerging talent from all backgrounds, and I can’t wait to see the wonderful pairings and inspiring conversations that come out of this opportunity.”
Successful entrants will be matched to leading women by Bafta, and will have the chance to speak to them in a phone call or by video chat, to gain industry insight and advice to further their careers.
Those wishing to take part can visit bafta.org/bafta-connects and submit a short video explaining what they love about film, games or television and what their ideal role in the industry is and why.
Applications close on April 16.