BAFTA Addresses Diversity Concerns As Membership Data Unveiled: “Setting Diversity Quotas For Voting Is Not The Answer”

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has shared its latest membership data, revealing the makeup of individuals who vote across its awards.

The figures, released alongside a letter to members from chair Krishnendu Majumdar, state that as of May 2023, the current BAFTA membership comprises a 42:58 female-male split, with 16% of members from underrepresented ethnic groups, 7% with a disability, and 12% identifying as LGBTQIA+.

The overall number of global BAFTA members has now risen to over 11,500, with over 2,500 industry professionals from across film, games, and television joining since 2020, BAFTA reported. The data is the result of a mandatory survey handed to all voting BAFTA members before they can access films through the body’s official streaming platform.

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In his adjoining letter, Majumdar welcomed the 2,500 new members and praised the organization’s efforts to open up the range of its members but concluded that much more needs to be done to address disparities.

“When it comes to Awards, we remain resolute that creative excellence must stand above all else. We continue to consult with the industry as part of the BAFTA Review, and feedback is loud and clear – setting diversity quotas for voting is not the answer,” Majumdar wrote. “However, we know that for so many talented people across the screen industries, it’s still not a fair race from the start. We simply don’t all have the same opportunity to tell our stories.”

He added: “We must continue to call on the industry’s gatekeepers and decision-makers to recognize their critical role in a shared mission for a more equitable industry. We can all play a part in creating an industry that is better for future generations that the one we joined.”

This year’s BAFTA TV awards take place May 14. Last year’s film awards drew extensive criticism, with the #BaftaSoWhite hashtag circulating once again on social media due to what critics described as a lack of diversity among those who clinched prizes. The criticism was sparked by a group image of the night’s winners on stage. Observers pointed out how the image appeared to feature just a single Black person: Alison Hammond, who co-hosted the BAFTAs with Richard E Grant.

The backlash came after BAFTA dedicated significant attention to boosting diversity during its film awards process, with Majumdar making it one of his top priorities. A grueling diversity review gave rise to 120 changes across its voting, membership, and campaigning process, including increasing the films viewed by voters and adding 1,000 members from underrepresented backgrounds.

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