How gender neutral is Bollywood?

How gender neutral is Bollywood?

Organisation: HT Media (India)

Publication Date: 03/18/2017


The project titled 'How Gender-neutral is Bollywood' is a tool to analyse the participation of women in a Bollywood movie. The idea emerged from the fact that, in recent times, Bollywood is keen to try and project itself as a progressive industry that gives women as much voice as it does to men. For years, it has borne the tag of being male-centric, an industry where the men are the biggest stars, and women little more than props. Now, it's trying to make women-centric films, with women in empowered roles. But the change of mindset needs to go beyond the choice of subjects. The industry should practise what it preaches. If it really stands for modern, career-oriented women, it needs to create more scope for women to work on its films. The tool is intended to be open, and be a way for journalists to keep track of and show how many women actually worked on a particular movie. Over time, as the data bank grows, the idea is for the tool to help track films by categories, by people at the helm, and eventually, see if the percentage of women working in Bollywood grows/diminishes year-on-year.

Technologies used for this project:

There is currently no tool to evaluate films by gender breakup of its cast and crew. This is important because there is a lot of focus on looking at different urban professions, and seeing the percentage of women working in each. Professions where women are better represented are seen as more progressive, the ones that throw up more balanced work and ideas. In the liberal arts -- ergo, in film -- this is of prime importance. Only if there are more women working in our cinema -- as directors, writers, producers, and in other crew functions -- will we see cinema that is balanced in its outlook and its portrayal of women and gender issues. The current overall figures in Bollywood are poor. Only 9% of directors are women. Only 15% of producers are women. And this slips under the radar because of the garb of women-centric films. This tool is a way to reveal just how many women we employ on our films. And, over time, to see if that representation improves.
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