• #SheLeadsIndia: How Sexist Is The Media?

    SheThePeople.TV and Twitter India hosted a panel discussion on women in media as part of the #SheLeadsIndia campaign. The panelists included TV anchor Mahrukh Inayet, actress in film Lipstick Under My Burqa Aahana Kumra, and Nidhi Bisht, director of The Viral Fever. The panelists spoke about sexism in the media, cyber security and the importance of mentorship.

    Mahrukh Inayet said that television newsrooms have more women and the newsroom has changed. However, the kind of trolling that women journalists face is more intense than what male journalists face because it is more about their sexuality. Male journalists aren’t subject to this.

    Aahana Kumra, who acted in Lipstick Under a Burkha, was vehement that every film should be able to get a release. “You cannot challenge the mindset of the country. If it was released on Netflix, they would have been ok with it then, but every film should get a decent release,” she said.

    When the censor board said our film is lady-oriented, we didn’t even know what that means, said Aahana Kumra. There is nothing vulgar about our film 

    Bisht spoke about the merits of online media. You can put out your content online, and nobody is there to say they will not upload. However, in some of the Girliyapppa videos, if you read the comments section, they had defeated the whole point of the sketch. We can just hope that the mindset will change.

    Mahrukh said that online is a double-edged sword. Too early to research and analyse, there has to be some checks and balances. It is so debatable and controversial, where do you bring the checks and balances. Who decides?

    Mahrukh Inayet said that there definitely aren’t too many women mentors in TV journalism. Because the field is young and the ones that are at the top are still breaking the glass ceiling. They don’t have the time or the inclination to mentor others

    When the censor board said our film is lady-oriented, we didn’t even know what that means, said Aahana Kumra. There is nothing vulgar about our film. Women have desires. So what if we are ‘lady oriented’? How many films come out about women in a year? One or two. And films about men are dime a dozen.

    Women Mentors 

    On the topic of women mentors, the panelists agreed that there are not enough women mentors.

    There are more men mentors than there are women, said Aahana Kumra.

    Mahrukh Inayet said that there definitely aren’t too many women mentors in TV journalism. Because the field is young and the ones that are at the top are still breaking the glass ceiling. They don’t have the time or the inclination to mentor others. There has to be empathy towards both genders. The solution is more jobs, because there are only so many slots. There is no incentive to mentoring.

    Lack of Pay Parity

    While the panelists agreed that there was disparity in TV and film, it was refreshing to hear that there is no disparity in the web community.

    On behalf of the web community, there is no disparity as yet, and I will keep it that way, said Nidhi Bisht.

    On Using Humour

    Online is an entertainment medium, so if it remains entertaining then you can put in a small message. It’s a democratic medium. We will keep pushing from our end, said Nidhi Bisht.

    Also Read: Media and Sexism: It’s Not Just Megyn Kelly