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Now Actress Malaika Arora Speaks Upon The #MeToo Movement

Malaika Arora, who is making headlines for her rumoured relationship with actor Arjun Kapoor, also stressed on how the modelling industry is shunning many "stereotypes"

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More noise than change: Malaika Arora on India's #MeToo wave
Malaika has no time for haters.
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The #MeToo movement has entered India, starting a conversation around making the workplace safe for all. But actress Malaika Arora feels there is more noise than actual change at the moment.

“I don’t see too much of a change. I hear people. I think there is more noise than change,” Malaika told IANS over the phone from Mumbai when asked about the change coming with the discussions around the #MeToo movement in India.

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. Big names like Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath, Anu Malik and Sajid Khan have have been named for using their position to exploit the vulnerable.

But Malaika says there is still a long way to go.

Malaika Arora
Malaika Arora.

“If we are talking about this industry, one is seeing a lot (of things) happening. People are talking about it. But for actual change to happen or for people to actually sit up and do something about it and actually make movement out of it, mindset has to change and people’s mindset cannot change overnight,” added the mother of one.

At the moment, Malaika Arora is seen judging and mentoring in “India’s Next Top Model 4”. The show is back with a new transformative and progressive theme of “More than a Face”. It is aired on MTV.

“This year we are very clear that it will not only be about the face. We want a girl who is not just beautiful. She has to be more than just a beautiful face.”

What are the parameters for it?

“You have to keep a lot of things in mind because at the end of the day it is ‘India’s Next Top’. We are looking for a top model qualities which means ideally and hopefully a tall girl. She needs to look a certain way, be a certain way, she has to walk in a right way.

#MeToo, Victim
Do not accept that it is a norm and do not keep tolerating. Flickr

“We don’t expect them to come fully prepared on day one. And that’s the whole idea of getting them and making sure you transform them into being a top model and we have been successful in that. We have really managed to transform some of the girls and change them. The transformation of a girl is the most important.”

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Malaika Arora, who is making headlines for her rumoured relationship with actor Arjun Kapoor, also stressed on how the modelling industry is shunning many “stereotypes”.

“When you think of a model, she’s got to be tall, have certain measurements. But in today’s day and age, those stereotypes are no more. People are more accepting about women in general. All those typical stereotypes are finally changing which is good.” (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)