Stop stereotyping women on screen

Film professionals speak of empowering women on sets, giving them equal pay

Ahead of International Women's Day, members of the film fraternity called for women's empowerment in the industry and said stereotyping of women's roles should be stopped.

Speaking at a panel discussion in the city, Megha Ghai Puri, president, Whistling Woods International, actor Ahana Kumra, producer Shanti Sivaram and Ukrainain film director, Daria Gai, celebrated women in the industry and discussed the evolving role of women in India's film industry.

With the evolving roles of women in films, local references for actresses taking up various projects have emerged. "With the changing roles of women in cinema, we today have more female references for essaying various roles. Earlier, my references were women in Hollywood and world cinema. That we have women from our own country to refer to, is a step forward," said Ms. Kumra.

While lauding the efforts and strength of actresses, they called for the stereotypical description of women to stop. "We should not put labels on the roles played by women, as that also puts boundaries on writers. clichés in describing a woman need to stop. We are in a time where many films that would not have worked well back in the day do fabulously well. Yet, the struggles and treatment meted out to women remain similar across film industries," Ms. Gai said.

With the absence of the barriers presented by films, while the web space has a lot of scope, Ms. Kumra and Ms. Gai said stereotyping in terms of roles continues to be a problem in the industry. "Films have a lot of challenges. One also needs to understand everything from the business point of view," Ms. Kumra said.

The members also agreed that sexualising of content must stop and responsibility be shown. While women are now participating in the film business, members said they often have to fight for equal pay as compared to their male counterparts.

"There should be more women on sets and not just as hair or make-up didis. Women should be empowered," Ms. Kumra said.

"Earlier the pay gap was accepted, but women are realising now that they deserve equal pay for equal work," Ms. Puri added.

Source : The Hindu