The National Film Board chose International Women's Day to announce a gender-parity initiative that will see half of its productions and half of all money spent going to women directors.

Claude Joli-Coeur made the announcement at the Vancouver Women in Film Festival on Tuesday.

Portrait Claude Joli-Coeur.

Claude Joli-Coeur, the head of the National Film Board, says it will take three years to implement the board's move to ensure gender parity in its productions. Progress can be monitored at at the NFB website. (NFB)

"The NFB has always taken a leadership role in women's filmmaking," Joli-Coeur, government film commissioner and NFB chairperson, said in a news release.

"In our current fiscal year, films directed by women represent half of our total spending on production. In 2016‒2017, the numbers are projected to be well above that."

However, he added, "numbers can fluctuate. There have been good years and lean years for women's filmmaking at the NFB. No more. Today, I'm making a firm, ongoing commitment to full gender parity, which I hope will help to lead the way for the industry as a whole."

According to the news release, it will take three years to fully implement the move, which was sparked in part by a recent report authored by Women in View, a Canadian non-profit that works for gender parity in media both on screen and behind-the-scenes.

In a sample of 91 feature-length films produced in 2013–2014, the report found women represented only 17 per cent of directors, 22 per cent of writers, and 12 per cent of cinematographers.

The film board is not far from its goal, the release says, noting that In the current 2015‒2016 fiscal year, production spending on films directed by women at the NFB is roughly at parity, with 43.4 per cent of production spending on films directed by women and 43.5 per cent of spending on films directed by men,

That's up from the previous year, 2014‒2015, when production spending on films directed by women was at 41.7 percent versus 47.8 percent on films directed by men.

The public will be able to monitor the NFB's progress through regular updates at the NFB's website.