What is the reality of women in media today?


Author and screenplay writer, Smriti Dewan talks to us about the inside world of media and what it means to be a woman in the industry.
The gender wage gap is a reality, though it’s not as simple in figures. In my experience in television, an industry known to be female-centric and female-driven, be it on-screen, behind the camera or even the target demographic which is primarily women, there is no dearth of women in influential positions. Be it the channel, the production houses, the creative teams, the production teams, we’re all in a place now to demand what we feel is our worth. But it’s not as perfect as it sounds on paper. The ground realities are a little different when we actually have to get the work done.
There are still certain jobs where producers would rather hire a man, if the job requires late nights or overnight work, if there are shoots in unpredictable, unsafe spaces. And understandably so. But that requires us as women to put ourselves out there even more, put our safety concerns aside just for the sake of our career. (Something I have been guilty of doing. My first documentary feature as a director required shooting in cremation ghats where women are not allowed to enter)
I still walk into meetings, narrations and get mistaken for an assistant, or even a stylist! When you say “writer” or “director”, people still picture it to be a male figure in their heads. There have been times I have had to shoot in small towns and villages and people have preferred to direct conversations to my male assistants instead of talking to me. So even though the industry is trying to change, the world still has a lot of catching up to do.