Netflix Puts $5 Million Toward Next Generation of Female Storytellers


Netflix is investing the first $5 million of its recently announced Creative Equity Fund in programs that help to “nurture, develop and uplift” women in the entertainment industry.

Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s head of global TV, revealed the news in a blog post: “As an Indian woman growing up in the U.S., I didn’t see anyone on-screen that looked like me until Parminder Nagra joined ER in 2003,” she said. “But when I started reading scripts as a young TV executive, I didn’t let that precedent get in my way: in my mind, the hero of the story was always a brown girl, with hopes and aspirations, strengths and talents just like her white counterparts. Years later I would finally make that dream a reality with Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project—and in doing so, I suspect millions of Indian girls got to see someone like themselves on screen for the first time.

“Today, I’m proud to work at a company that has brought many female firsts to life in front of and behind the camera,” she continued. “But we’re still only just getting started. It’s why I am more determined than ever to ensure that the next generation of female storytellers has more opportunities than the women who came before them.”

The Netflix Fund for Creative Equity will see the streamer invest $20 million a year for the next five years in building more inclusive pipelines behind the camera. The first $5 million will go toward programs that help to identify, train and provide work placements for up-and-coming female talent. The scheme will do so through partnerships with third parties and bespoke Netflix programs to support a range of initiatives.

Collectif 50/50 is a year-long, national mentorship program for aspiring women creatives of various ages and backgrounds in France, including a series of masterclasses from 30 industry leaders.

Into the Wild is a one-year mentorship program for young female filmmakers from film schools across Germany, including a script writing camp and a final pitch at well-known German festivals including Filmfestival Munich and the Max Ophüls-Festival.

Women in Post is a new eight-month program that builds on the Netflix and Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women, will provide mentorship and training within post-production to women creatives from across Canada.

Narrative Short Film Incubator for Women of Color is an incubator program by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers for Latinx women and women of color to produce short film projects through dedicated funding, production support and mentorship.

Bajaria added: “Experience has taught me that great stories are universal: they can come from anywhere, be created by anyone, and be loved by everyone—what matters is that they are told authentically. Now we need to ensure that traditionally disadvantaged voices—in this case, women—get the same chances to be heard in our industry as men have been for generations.”