Recently, Hollywood was rocked by the allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was accused by a large number of women that came forward to say they were sexually harassed or assaulted by Weinstein. Stories of sexual assault and harassment have been prevalent in the film industry. While the workplaces are under strong scrutiny as workplace harassment has been on the rise, the film industry has always been able to cover up the harassment and gender discrimination issues.
Acknowledging the problem, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to 24 Bollywood filmmakers asking to comply with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. The filmmakers are ethically and legally accountable for the safety of their employees, the letter read. Gandhi wrote to leading production houses reminding them that they are “ethically and legally” responsible for providing a “safe, secure and inclusive work environment” for all staff under Indian law. The letter also stated that all production houses must set up internal complaint cells with immediate effect.
Maneka Gandhi was quoted in media saying, “This law aims to ensure that no woman is sexually harassed at her workplace. This is to be followed in letter and spirit by all organizations in the country, and I expect you to personally supervise these efforts with sincerity and commitment, by all the applicable laws.”
To ensure effective application of Sexual Harassment Act at workplaces, the government also launched an online portal called She-Box. SHe-box (Sexual Harassment Electronic Box), is an online portal that allows women to lodge complaints about sexual harassment at workplace.
According to a British Daily, the gender disparity is rooted in the film industry, where more than three-quarters of the crew is committed to making 2,000 of the highest grossing films over the past 20 years have been men, while only 22% were women. Talking about inequality in pay, top actors in Bollywood earn at least five times more than the top actresses, and some directors have been fine with keeping it that way.