Women leadership behind cameras abysmal at 10 per cent, says survey

Women have a very low representation in important roles like direction, production, design, writing, editing of others in Indian

Women leadership behind cameras abysmal at 10 per cent, says survey

MUMBAI: Women have a very low representation in important roles like direction, production, design, writing, editing of others in Indian cinema. They actually account for a niggardly 10 per cent, while the lion's share of 90 per cent of such jobs have been occupied by men.

Media consulting firm, Ormax Media and entertainment platform, Film Companion on August 4 released O Womaniya! 2022, a report on female representation in Indian entertainment. From boardrooms to film sets the study reveals the state of female representation in Indian films and digital series.

The findings indicated that only 10 per cent representation of women in senior roles behind the camera, as well as in corporate leadership. The number of women hired to lead departments doubled when the film or series was commissioned by a woman. Women saw significantly lower share of talk time in promotional assets, such as trailers, with men out-speaking women by a ratio of 3:1. Streaming films and series outperformed theatrical films across all parameters, with higher contribution and representation of women on and off-screen.

Out of the 56 theatrical films analysed across languages, not even one was directed or edited by a woman. Even in media and entertainment corporate houses only 10 per cent of senior leadership roles were held by women, having a cascading effect on inclusivity through the production and execution chain. Only 55 per cent of the films and series could pass the Bechdel Test1, a test used to identify the kind of roles women were assigned to handle. Even in promotional trailers analysed through the Trailer Talk Time Test2, women had only 25 per cent talk time with 48 titles even allocating 10 seconds or less to female characters.

Women encourage women

The reports also revealed that women were women's biggest cheerleaders. The percentage of female HODs doubled when a woman greenlit a series or a film. Similarly, a higher percentage of films passed the Bechdel Test (68%) and women had higher trailer talk time (35%) if the title was commissioned by a woman. Owing to the emerging streaming platforms, the representation of female HODs in streaming films and series increased by five percent compared to theatres.

Speaking about the findings, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder-CEO, Ormax Media, said, "While it's no surprise that female representation in mainstream entertainment is low, the degree of skew, such as 10:90 on some key parameters, should be a wake-up call. While streaming titles, especially series, are more women-inclusive in on and off-screen representation, theatrical films continue to perform very poorly, and in fact, have shown no growth at all since the previous report, which covered content released in 2019 & 2020. We hope that this report serves as a starting point for the industry to come together and discuss ways to address the evident imbalance."

Have more women in boardrooms: Vidya Balan

Actress Vidya Balan said, "As an actor, I have noticed the change in female representation in films in the last decade and a half. From seeing just, a handful of women on sets to now having women take the lead, it is a refreshing change. However, the report indicates that we still have a lot of ground to cover. And this can only happen when we have more women in the boardrooms, prompting change right at the heart of decision-making. As female actors in positions of influence, we need to push for more female representation on and behind the camera."

Anupama Chopra, Founder & Editor, Film Companion said, "Data is essential to understanding how drastically skewed the gender equation in the Indian film industry is. The support that we have received from film bodies, streaming services and studios after the Ormax report is heartening. We will continue to build this momentum and hopefully lead the way to change.

Talking about the significance of the report, Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, Prime Video said, "While there have been improvements in female representation in Indian entertainment, there has not been any data-backed report in India that can hold a mirror up to the current reality. O Womaniya! 2022 fills the much-needed gap with its rich insights. We are thrilled to join hands with Ormax Media and Film Companion on an initiative that is in sync with our philosophy on equitable representation. The report serves as a good starting point to initiate discussions on the need to involve more women, particularly in decision-making roles, as that has a ripple effect on inclusivity in the entire ecosystem."

O Womaniya! 2022 was also supported by actor Vidya Balan, who over the last 17 years, has led and furthered the mandate on female-led stories across theatrical and streaming films like The Dirty Picture, Kahaani, Tumhari Sulu, Shakuntala Devi, Sherni, Jalsa, and more.

Next Story

Similar Posts