Kerala: Women film artistes form group to fight gender disparity

Women in Cinema Collective with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Film editor and Artistic Director of International Film Festival of Kerala, Beena Paul, actors Manju Warrier, Parvathy Theruvoth, Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambeesan, Sajitha Madathil, directors Anjali Menon, Vidhu Vincent and camera woman Fausiya Fathima are part of this association.

It, however, will deal exclusively with issues faced by women in the film industry, and make interventions to ensure parity for them in terms of opportunities and working conditions.

For the first time in the country, women film professionals in Malayalam celluloid have formed a collective, called Women collective in cinema, mainly to fight against sexual exploitation and gender disparity in the industry. Production units that are shooting movies should also be brought under the Sexual Harassment Prohibition Act, and set up a Sexual Harassment Complaint Cell on their sets.

Manju Warrier and her colleagues expressed satisfaction after their meeting with the Chief Minister and said that even though they have now formed this new outfit, there will be no bar on their membership in other existing bodies of the film industry. They also sought the government to institute an award for those films that uphold gender equality and also provide insurance to women professionals who are forced to stay away from work due to pregnancy, child care or ailments.

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Later, Vijayan, in his Facebook post, said the government would take steps to prevent sexual harassment and abuse of women in the film industry.

The Collective has demanded that the government start courses to train women in the technical skills required for film making. In many sets, they complained that women are not even able to meet basic needs.

Statements made by AMMA in connection with the recent abduction and molestation of a popular actress in Kochi had triggered voices of dissent from within the industry, for their patriarchal tone. The petitioners pointed out that this was not the first such incident, but rather the only reported one that came into the spotlight.

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