Ten leaders from media, advertising industries and social organisations gathered at the Indian Merchant Chamber (IMC) on Thursday to discuss an action plan to mitigate violence against women by creating awareness and promoting gender sensitisation.
Dr A L Sharada, representing the NGO Population First, which runs the Ladli campaign, asked for a gender scoring of advertisement, TV shows and movies. “Industry leaders need to pump money into social behavioural change communication. We need to look into…how to stop the easy availability of misogynist videos.”
Talking about an incident wherein she raised a complaint about a popular video that “glorified gang rape” on a video sharing platform, she said, “The video was never taken down, but only came with a trigger warning — ‘not suitable for all’. There are many hurdles to get (these videos) out of public domain.”
Speakers at the event also highlighted the importance of sex education in schools, the need for speedy redressal of pending cases, a robust judicial system and government, and police sensitivity towards women who come to them with complaints, among other issues. Ashish Bhasin, president of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), Srinivasan Swamy, world chairman, International Advertisement Association and Partho Dasgupta, president, Advertising Club, spoke about the need for an awareness and communication plan to achieve this goal.
Nandini Dias, Chief Executive Officer-India, Lodestar UM, highlighted the importance of education and awareness programmes in school. “The solution to this problem (increasing violence against women) is promoting gender sensitisation in school. The solution doesn’t lie in banning or blocking things from teenagers, but in educating them about women’s rights,” she said.
D Sivanandhan, former director general of police, said, “Consitutional and legal remedies are needed for a long-term solution. Fast tracking of cases in all courts is a must. Our action can’t be knee jerk…Prosecution is the weakest link in our judicial system, which we need to strengthen.”
Nirupama Subramanian, resident editor of The Indian Express, said there was also a need to change the language in which the media reports incidents of sexual violence. Pointing out how words such as ‘eve-teasing’ are widely used by media and others without realising that it “trivialises sexual harassment”, she said. “There is nothing called ‘eve-teasing’. It is sexual harassment and that is the term we should use.”
The marcom group discussed a communication plan aimed at various aspects that could address the problem of rape, said Ramesh Narayan, vice-president and area director (APAC) of International Advertising Association, who organised this initiative. He added, “The IMC Ladies Wing President had been working on a plan that was branded as ‘Make Mumbai Safe’. They had a blueprint, but needed the marcom industry to provide creative inputs and media amplification. Nandini Dias…offered to form a working group to carry this in all its aspects to its logical conclusion.”
Preeti Mehta, president, Rotary Club of Bombay and Megha Tata, managing director-South Asia, Discovery Communications, were among the speakers at the event.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines