Mumbai: Despite some progress, women still hold only 13% of senior leadership roles in Indian media and entertainment (M&E) companies, according to the third edition of ‘O Womaniya!’. Report. While this is slightly higher than the 10% reported in 2021, it highlights a persistent gender gap in the industry.
The “O Womaniya!” study, conducted by media consultancy Ormax Media and Film Companion with support from Prime Video, assesses the representation of women in various aspects of content production, marketing and business management in the Indian entertainment industry.
The report focuses on three main categories: “content,” including the representation of women on screen and behind the camera; “Marketing”, examining the portrayal of women in advertising trailers for films and series; and “Companies,” analyzing the representation of women in the boardrooms of the 25 largest M&E companies.
Of the 135 director and CXO positions assessed in these top 25 M&E companies, only 13% were held by women. Furthermore, only 12% of the 780 head of department (HOD) positions analyzed in key departments – directing, cinematography, editing, writing and production design – were held by women. While this represents a slight improvement from 10% in 2021, growth was driven primarily by streaming films and series, while theatrical films remained stagnant.
This year’s report examined 156 films and series released in 2022 in eight Indian languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati) to provide a comprehensive overview of the industry’s progress since 2021 .
“Although there has been slow but steady improvement in some key metrics, the report highlights the need for a serious focus on inclusion. Streaming continues to lead the way for female representation, but the lackluster performance of theatrical films should serve as an industry “wake-up call,” said Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of Ormax Media.
More than half of the theatrical releases evaluated failed the basic “Bechdel Test,” an internationally recognized measure of female representation in cinema. To pass the test, a film must contain at least one scene in which two named female characters talk about something other than one or more men. In 2022, only 47% of properties passed the test, compared to 55% in 2021. The largest decline was seen in theatrical films, where only 34% passed the test in 2022. Series and films like Guilty Minds, Four More Shots Please! Delhi Crime Season 3, Maja Ma and Gangubai Kathiawadi Season 2 passed the Bechdel Test with ease.
“Entertainment is a powerful medium that can and must highlight inclusivity and diversity. O Womaniya! is our attempt to push the needle to move forward faster. The steps taken to bring about change may seem small, but every step, every action is important and with every edition of O Womaniya! “We believe our report takes us one step closer to a more equitable ecosystem,” said Anupama Chopra, founder and editor of Film Companion.
When it came to trailers, women only received 27% of the talk time. Streaming films led the way with 33% of talk time for women, while series and films like Hush Hush, Gehraiyaan, The Fame Game, Ammu, A Thursday, Sita Ramam and others had at least 50% of talk time in trailers with female leads.
“As an organization, we have always believed in equal representation, not just at Prime Video and in our content, but also across the creative industries. By nurturing and empowering talented women in our industry, we can have a positive impact on change in the wider ecosystem,” said Aparna Purohit, Head of Originals, India and Southeast Asia, Prime Video.
The “O Womaniya!” report was supported by various industry partners including Clean Slate Filmz, Emmay Entertainment, Excel Entertainment, Jio Studio, Producers Guild India, RSVP, SonyLiv, Tiger Baby and Zee5. In particular, industry leaders, including studio heads, filmmakers, actors and others, have committed to increasing the representation of women in both their personal and professional capacities.
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