By P Charitha
Hyderabad: Telangana Governor and Puducherry Lt. Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan called out that people should always protest against the discriminatory portrayal of women in movies and advertisements of companies. “ Share the dais to break the bias together”, she asserted, while talking about gender sensitisation in all aspects.
The Governor shared her thoughts while speaking at a summit on Voice Of Change’ –Gender Sensitisation In Media, which was conducted by the International Advertising Association(IAA), India chapter on Friday (3rd February) at T-Hub, Hyderabad, where she was invited as the chief guest. The theme was Gender Portrayal across the creative spectrum from a 30 Seconds TVC to a 3 Hour film.
The event was held with the aim of curbing and eradicating gender discrimination and stereotyping of women in advertisements, print media, videos, and cinema. People should reject such advertisements and movies and make their objections clear, the Governor said.She expressed her concern that although this trend is visible in social media, the discrimination continues in the wider society. Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, on this occasion, explained as an example that women are constantly being discriminated against every time and the woman is shown with a certain point of view. She cited an example that she herself faced recently while she was waiting at the Airport. A lady had pointed out to her eight-year-old daughter and said that she was the Governor of Telangana. The girl did not believe her mother and said that women could not be governors and only old men were. The Governor expressed her happiness when she was told by the Union Aviation Minister that there are now more women pilots than men in the country, but unfortunately, many people in the society see women in old and stereotypical ways.
Citing another instance during her career as a gynecologist at Thanjavur Medical College she observed an incident of partiality by a mother of twins a boy and a girl. The girl was weak and the boy was healthy, so when she asked why, the mother mentioned that she gave her breast milk to the boy and diluted cow’s milk to the girl. “The mindset of society should change regarding such issues. Those who make advertisements are also requested to contribute their help to this change,” she urged. She praised the IAA and the people from the media and advertisement sectors that the Voice of Change was a welcome development to discuss such a topic related to gender sensitization. She added further that women in society had to work ten times harder in all aspects and this situation needs to be changed, and this change is possible only by clearly expressing their objections to gender discrimination and stereotyping.
Earlier, Gitanjali Master, the representative of UNICEF India and Public Private Partnerships specialist, disclosed the details of UNICEF’s research on gender discrimination and stereotyping in advertisements. The Voice Of Change was started as a behaviour change communication initiative that was aimed at addressing the skewed portrayal of gender in the field of advertising and communication with the launch of the Geena Davis study with UNICEF, in September last year. The facts presented in the study, based on the evaluation of more than 1000 plus ads, showed a disturbing trend of widespread gender stereotyping and prejudice.
Dr. A.L. Sharada, director of Population First, said that discrimination and stereotyping of women in advertisements, movies, and other content have become rampant. She explained that due to digital media, there is an opportunity to discuss women’s issues in detail, advertising and other content have reduced the denigration of women, and youth advertising has more inclusive content. She also spoke about the need to systematically change the patriarchal attitude and check gender reporting which had changed after the Nirbhaya episode. She also spoke about the Me Too movement which had brought about a change in balanced reporting. Dr. AL Sharada expressed the hope that this change will continue in the future.
The other speakers at the summit included Accenture Managing Director Charulatha Ravikumar IAA India Chapter President Avinash Pandey, and IAA Women’s Empowerment Committee Chairperson Neena Elavia Jaipuria who set the context for the summit.
A panel discussion was held on the topic of ‘Gender Conscious and Purposeful Entertainment’, where conscious creativity in films, OTT, and advertising was discussed. Anchor Swapna acted as the coordinator while film actor/directorAvarasala Srinivas, Telugu film director Nandini Reddy, Dr. Pranathi Reddy, Director of FetalMedicine at Rainbow Hospitals, and, IPS officer Shikha Goel participated.
Megha Tata, CEO of Cosmos Maya India Pvt Ltd moderated the second-panel discussion titled Gender Conscious Creativity in Communications where Jayesh Ranjan, IAS – Principal Secretary of I& C, Vijay Gopal of RK Swamy BBDO, Hemantha Agarwal of CMD of Associated Advertising and Dr. Shailee Swarop founder of Tooth Company participated. The programme ended with a fireside chat session titled Conscious Creativity in Films OTT and Advertising where Femina Miss India 2020 Manasa Varanasi and Deepthi Ravula CEO of WE HUB, Telangana participated.
Sakshi Media Group was the Principal Partner and UNICEF the Knowledge Partner for this event.