For as long as we can remember, India’s film industry has boasted of a rich history. Unfortunately, the portrayal of women in Indian films has, more often than not, been a topic of concern for a considerable period. Women have been objectified, sexualized, and dealt with in ways that perpetuate gender inequality time and time again. Despite the country's rapid social and economic progress, women still face misogyny and encounter patriarchal attitudes. There is a need to initiate a profound shift in the way women are depicted in Indian cinema, promoting diverse and empowering representations that reflect the evolving roles and contributions of women in society.
Taking a step towards this, Prime Video has released the new edition of O Womaniya! Report. Spearheaded by Ormax Media and Film Companion, and championed by Prime Video, O Womaniya! is India’s most definitive report on female representation in Indian entertainment. The study evaluates the statistical journey of women in various facets of content production, marketing and corporate leadership within India’s entertainment industry. This year, the report analyzed 156 films and series, across streaming and theatrical releases in 2022 in 8 Indian languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati) to arrive at a comprehensive picture of the change that the industry has seen since 2021.
The Key Findings Of The Report Include:
Women In Creative Talent: Out of the 780 HOD positions analyzed in key departments such as direction, cinematography, editing, writing, and production design, only 12% were held by women.
Regarding Content: In 2021, 55% of the properties analyzed passed the Bechdel Test (a way of evaluating whether or not a film or other work of fiction portrays women in a way that is sexist or characterized by gender stereotyping). However, that number has now dropped below the halfway mark to 47%.
Marketing: Women continue to receive only 27% of talk time in trailers, with streaming films allocating the highest, at 33% talk time to women.
Corporate Talent: Among the 135 Director/CXO positions examined within 25 leading M&E firms in India, only 13% were occupied by women.
Check out the statistics shared by O Womaniya
Pledges By Movie Personnel
Actors such as Alia Bhatt pledge to continue promoting diversity in their production projects. Alongside her, we have several other film personalities, including Shakun Batra, Gayatri & Pushkar, Supriya Menon, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Sudha Kongara, Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, Nikkhil Advani, Vikramaditya Motwane, Hansal Mehta, Alankrita Shrivastava, and more filmmakers, who have voiced their support for diversity in the film industry.
Talking about the significance of the report and pledges, Aparna Purohit, head of Originals, India & Southeast Asia, Prime Video said, "O Womaniya! represents a collective effort to unite the industry and collaborate on enhancing female representation. The latest edition of the report strongly underscores the urgency of accelerating these transformative efforts. It's heartening to witness not only the committed support of partners but also the active participation of influential figures from the industry, including both men and women. They have not only pledged their personal commitment but also made broader corporate level commitments to champion greater female inclusivity.”
Sharing his thoughts on the latest findings in O Womaniya!, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media said, “Like the previous edition of the report, streaming continues to pave the way for female representation, however, the sub-par performance of theatrical films should serve as a wake-up call for the industry. I am glad to see the industry take note of the data and come together to pledge better representation, underscoring their genuine desire to see a positive change.”
Speaking about the report, Anupama Chopra, Founder & Editor, Film Companion said, “We are thrilled to see greater participation from the industry, with key individuals taking on specific targets and actions to take this conversation forward. The steps taken to bring change may seem small but each step, each action matters, and with every edition of the O Womaniya! report, we believe we are moving a step closer to a more equitable ecosystem.”
In addition to Prime Video, this report has received backing from various industry collaborators, such as Clean Slate Filmz, Emmay Entertainment, Excel Entertainment, Jio Studio, Producers Guild India, RSVP, SonyLiv, Tiger Baby, and Zee5.
To discuss the findings of the report and figure resolutions, leading names from the industry, including Kriti Sanon, Zoya Akhtar, Vikramaditya Motwane, Alankrita Shrivastava, Hansal Mehta, Juhi Chaturvedi, and Aparna Purohit got together for a roundtable hosted by Anupama Chopra.
Fortunately, over the years, the Indian audience has grown more vocal, accepting and mature towards watching women play stronger roles.
And in light of these findings, it becomes abundantly clear that the entertainment industry in India still faces significant gender disparities across various facets, including creative roles, marketing, and corporate leadership.
While there have been commendable instances of progress and greater representation of women in certain areas, there remains a pressing need for a more inclusive and equitable environment. By recognizing and addressing these imbalances, we hope to observe significant differences in the numbers by the time of the next report.
*This article is posted in collaboration with Prime Video India*