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Women should be groomed to take up nonconventional roles in M&E

MUMBAI: Female artists needed to be groomed to take up nonconventional roles in the media and entertainment (M&E) industry, various experts said.

NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumara Mangalam said that even today an invisible barrier exists in the M&E industry where women do not get equal opportunities. She explained that various factors like lack of training and lack of family support are responsible for this situation.

“The percentage of women working in this sector is also very low. Even today people do not see this sector as a good place to work,” she added.

Mangalam was talking at a national convention on ‘An equal space: Gender parity in media and entertainment sector’.

The event was organised in New Delhi by the National Commission for Women (NCW), in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and ASSOCHAM.

The NCW organised the dialogue to suggest policies and programmes for addressing limiting factors for women in the entertainment and media sector, parity and ownership in the creative and decision-making domains.

Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy opined that women should be portrayed as empowered characters in films to send the right message to society. He felt female artists should be encouraged to participate in nonconventional roles in films, which will help to eliminate misconception of the entertainment industry being projected as biased.

Inaugurating the session, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said that the world had lost a lot by not giving women equal opportunities and not recognising their talent. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech last year had raised this issue of gender disparity.

The minister emphasised that women possess qualities like compassion, conviction, consistency, and courage, which are their unique strengths.

The inaugural session was followed by technical sessions. Deliberations were held on various issues such as equal opportunity for women in media and entertainment, enabling and empowering women at workplace and skill and capacity building. The experts also had a Q&A session with the audience present.

During the deliberations, stress was laid on various issues like proper grooming and training of females in various nonconventional roles in the industry. The participants felt that technology and digitisation had changed the scenario. For example, now tools are lightweight compared to earlier times and women are entering into various roles like make-up artists, stuntwomen and more.

The participants said that the news industry has more presence of women than of men but a lot needs to be done to encourage women to join this sector so that they establish themselves in the system.

Besides Sippy, other personalities also participated in the discussion such as Additional Solicitor General of India Pinky Anand, actor and director Rajat Kapoor, actresses Divya Dutta and Rajeshwari Sachdev, IIMC DG Sunit Tandon, MIB ex director (films) Nirupama Kotru, NFDC MD Nina Lath Gupta, and senior journalist Rahul Kanwal.