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People Hope to Get Transparency in System With #MeToo Movement

The makers of all these films were directly or indirectly accused of sexual harassment

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#MeToo movement will make system more transparent: Ronnie Screwvala. Flickr
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With the #MeToo movement gaining momentum in India, veteran producer Ronnie Screwvala says the system in Bollywood will become more transparent than being fearful for new talents to step in.

Sharing his opinion on the current situation where the movement has created a collective consciousness among the people in the film industry, asked if new talent will be scared to join the film industry, Screwvala told IANS here: “I can imagine there could be some trepidation and that would come more from the parents than the budding talents. But because it is out in the open now, the movement will make the system more transparent.

“Now, people know how to respond to the situation and that does not stop them (victims) to grow in their career. Earlier, it happened to people in such a way that they feared to raise their voice because they thought their career will be over if they are not compromising. Now, not anymore.”

Will the industry lose out on new talent?

“Look, the situation is serious on how these stories are coming out now, but we have to understand that is just one per cent of the whole industry. I do not think that reflects on everyone member of the community. I think now the penny has dropped with a lot of people that 99 per cent of the people do believe it is (sexual harassment at workplace) unacceptable, so if anybody does that to someone, the person can fearlessly raise her (or his) voice, knowing that it will not affect her career,” Screwvala said on the sidelines of the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star.

#MeToo, Victim
Spread of awareness. No more such thing as boys are boys.

Screwvala was at the gala as the producer of “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota”, which opened the festival.

This year at the Mumbai Film Festival, four films were dropped from the line-up — Rajat Kapoor’s “Kadhakh’ and All India Backchod (AIB) produced “Chintu Ka Birthday”, Anurag Kashyap co-produced “Bebaak” and Ere Gowda’s Kannada film “Balekempa”.

Also Read- Weight Loss Surgery To Combat Womb Cancer in Obese Women

The makers of all these films were directly or indirectly accused of sexual harassment.

The film festival will continue till November 1. (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)