Ladies First (Short Film)

Producer: James Bowsher & Matthew Steggles

Director: Matthew Steggles

Writer: Matthew Steggles & James Bowsher


Log line

‘Ladies First’ is a short period drama set in 1919, focusing on a young couple challenging gender inequality as a social norm.


Director Statement

‘Ladies First’ has two sources of inspiration; Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech at the UN and Amma Asante’s film ‘Belle’. I felt that Asante’s intelligent use of 19th Century England as a setting highlighted the racial obstacles the protagonist endured. However, Gender Equality was the subject I wanted to tackle. Specifically the linguistic modes employed by the patriarchy to re-enforce traditional social dynamics. The films title, ‘Ladies First’ references the term: whilst promoting women in the short run, it actually segments society in favour of the man. You may walk through the door first as I allow you to.


This film is set in 1919 as this was famously a turning point in the movement towards gender equality in Britain. My goal was to use the past to reflect contemporary issues and use the trappings of the setting to illustrate that while there has been great legislative and social change in nearly 100 years, the linguistic dimension has yet to catch up.

Online Premier
Teaser Trailer
Official Film Festival Selections

- Cannes Short Film Corner (2016) - World Premier

- New Renaissance Film Festival (2016) - UK Premier

- Exit 6 Film Festival (2016)

- Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival (2016) - USA Premier

- London International Short Film Festival (2016)

- Zero Film Festival, London (2016)

- Carmarthen Bay Film Festival (2017)