Actress Kalki Koechlin, in a recent interview with Hindustan Times, minced no words when she spoke about the gender discrimination and pay disparity in the film industry. Calling it a fact and not an opinion, Kalki believes that it’s about time people accepted its existence as opposed to pretending it isn’t around.
“It’s a fact that the film industry is male-dominated. You can’t have any arguments about that. It’s true that things are a bit complicated. Filmmaking is a business model, and you can’t expect to be paid equally just on the basis of your sex,” she says, further adding that though times are changing, some things remain the same.
“[The] success of films like Piku (2015) or Queen (2013) does point to the fact that women, too, can carry films forward, and that films with female protagonists also do good business and bring in good amounts of money. If that happens, then women have every right to ask to be paid as [much as] the male counterparts,” she reiterates.
She further adds that an actress should be treated more than just a hero’s plot.
The Jia Aur Jia actress isn’t the first industry member to call out pay inequality. Recently, producer Kiran Rao said that it’s shameful that women still have to fight for getting equal pay. She also said that women shouldn’t stop dreaming or working towards their goal.
Unequal pay is a reality in several countries, including India. According to the ‘Men and Women in India 2016‘ report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, there is a 25 percent difference in the wages of women and men. The National Sample Survey of 2011-12 also states that the average wage or salary received per day by regular wage or salaried employees between the age group of 15 and 59 years is Rs 201.56 (rural) and Rs 366.15 (urban) for females and is lower than that of males who get paid Rs 322.23 (rural) and Rs 469.87 (urban).