Tuesday November 13, 2018

Huma Qureshi Urges People To Listen To The Victims of #MeToo Movement

The actress feels the #MeToo movement is here to stay

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Huma Qureshi
We must listen to the victims: Huma Qureshi on #MeToo. (IANS)
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Actress Huma Qureshi thinks it is brave of women to come out and talk about their #MeToo stories, saying the movement will bring positive change in the country. However, she also urges people to “listen to the victims”.

“I think #MeToo is the most relevant movement that has happened in recent times in India as far as women are concerned. And I think it is amazing but heartbreaking to hear stories about stuff that women — and supposedly powerful and successful women — go through every single day,” Huma Qureshi told IANS on the sidelines of the showcase of H&M’s new designer collection in collaboration with iconic Italian brand Moschino.

“Recently, I saw a picture of Lady Gaga where she wore a pant suit. At the event, she spoke about the fact that she wanted to wear pants because she has been a victim of sexual assault and that she still doesn’t have the guts to talk about it. Now that’s something to think about.

“I think there is something to take away from that, and I say, more power to all the women who are choosing to talk about it. It’s very brave and I think we must really get up and listen to them because we are not listening to them,” Huma Qureshi added.

After making quite an impact in the West, the #MeToo wave has swept into Bollywood and beyond, following Tanushree Dutta recounting an unpleasant episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar on the sets of “Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss” in 2008.

It has brought out many dark truths from the world of Bollywood, with women coming out to name and shame the offenders. Celebrities like Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath, Anu Malik and Sajid Khan have been named and shamed for using their positions to exploit the vulnerable.

The actress feels the #MeToo movement is here to stay.

Huma Qureshi
Huma Qureshi (Wikimedia commons)

“I hope and I pray that it will result in a lot of positive changes for not just our film industry but the for the world and country at large,” said Huma, who was here to showcase the fashion collection, which consists of apparel and accessories for women, men and even dogs.

The collection’s key pieces include Disney-inspired sweatshirts, logo t-shirts and party ready ensembles in black and gold.

Huma said their designs are trendy, hip and young. “This is something I resonate with,” she said.

Is Huma a fashion conscious person?

“I am a fashion conscious person to the extent that I always believe that you should follow your own vibes and I have always done that. I think fashion is about expressing yourself and expressing your personality. I have never tried to look like the herd. I always try and stand out and that, for me, is the most important thing,” she said.

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From “Gangs of Wasseypur”, “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana”, “Ek Thi Daayan”, “Dedh Ishqiya” to “Jolly LLB 2”, Huma Qureshi has portrayed strong female characters in films. However, she doesn’t want her life to influence youngsters.

“I don’t want my life to influence youngsters. I always say don’t follow me, as I am constantly lost. I think everybody should explore themselves. You should travel, meet lots of people, make friends and grow,” said the actress, who is also likely to announce “something very exciting” soon. (IANS)

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Do More to Create Equality: Women Leaders In Tech During Web Summit

Google's head of philanthropy, Jacquelline Fuller, said she joined the walkout last week, admitting more needs to be done.

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Google, Web summit
The center stage at Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal. VOA

Women leaders in technology called at one of the sector’s largest global conferences, Web Summit for more to be done to drive equality in the male-dominated industry now hit by the #MeToo debate.

The ninth Web Summit comes amid growing concerns about sexism in the tech world, with thousands of Google employees walking out last week to protest the company’s response to sexual misconduct and workplace inequality.

In a poll of 1,000 women leaders in tech by the Web Summit, given exclusively to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, 47 percent said the gender ratio in leadership had not improved in the past year. Only 17 percent said it was better.

Stephen Hawking, web summit
FILE- Cosmologist Stephen Hawking delivers a video message during the inauguration of Web Summit, Europe’s biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 6, 2017. (VOA)

 

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives, said it was crucial to have more women in the sector.

“We can’t accomplish what we need if women [aren’t involved] in tech,” Jackson, who was part of President Barack Obama’s administration, told the Web Summit in Lisbon.

About 70,000 people from 170 nations were at the conference, where the number of women attendees has risen to about 45 percent from 25 percent in 2013, helped by discounting tickets, according to organizers. They did not have earlier figures.

Talking about expertise

“This year a lot of the talks on our stages are touching on the [number of women in the sector],” Anna O’Hare, head of content at Web Summit, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “But rather than women just talking about this, they are talking about the areas in which they are experts in tech.”

The tech sector has long come under scrutiny for inequality and its “bro-gamer” type of culture, referring to men who play video games.

Global organizations, including the United Nations and the European Commission, have spoken out about under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Facebook, Web Summit
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

A 2016 report by the global consultancy McKinsey found women made up 37 percent of entry-level roles in technology but only 25 percent reached senior management roles and 15 percent made executive level.

The poll of women at the Web Summit found eight of every 10 women felt confident and respected in their roles, but they were divided when asked if they were treated the same as men, with 60 percent saying they were under more pressure to prove themselves.

Thirty-seven percent worried that women were offered leadership roles only to fill quotas.

While half of the women polled said their companies were doing enough to ensure equality, nearly 60 percent said governments were not active enough to address the imbalance.

Several tech company representatives have told the Web Summit of attempts to boost equality, with moves such as training staff in unconscious bias, deleting gender from CVs, ensuring that all short lists have women and improving maternity rights.

Google, Web summit
Google employees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building during a walkout, Nov. 1, 2018, in San Francisco. Hundreds of Google employees around the world briefly walked off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

Better results

Gillian Tans, chief executive at the online travel agent Booking.com, said it had been proven that companies with “more women in management positions actually perform better.”

Also Read: Silicon Valley, Google Walk Off To Protest Against Mishandling Of Sexual Harassment Cases

This comes after organizers of the Google protest and other staff said the company’s executives, like leaders at dozens of companies affected by the #MeToo movement, were slow to address structural issues such as unchecked power of male bosses.

Google’s head of philanthropy, Jacquelline Fuller, said she joined the walkout last week, admitting more needs to be done.

“We need to do a better job at creating a safe and inclusive workplace,” she said. “We need more women in tech.” (VOA)