Prime Video Releases the New Edition of O Womaniya! Report; India’s M&E Industry Pledges Support to Boost Female Representation

Spearheaded by Ormax Media and Film Companion, the third edition of the report evaluated 156 Indian films and series released in 2022 on streaming services and in theatres across 8 Indian languages; while streaming continues to lead the way in representation, theatrical films see a decline on important parameters

Report findings indicate a marginal improvement in representation in the boardrooms of 25 top M&E companies in India

Industry leaders, studio heads, actors, and guilds come forward to pledge support for improving representation, laying down actionable guidelines for themselves and the wider ecosystem

Access the complete report here

Mumbai — October 26, 2023 — Prime Video, India’s most loved entertainment destination, today released the latest edition of O Womaniya! report, the most definitive study on female representation in Indian entertainment. Researched and curated by media consulting firm, Ormax Media, India’s leading entertainment journalism platform, Film Companion, and championed by Prime Video, the study evaluates the statistical journey of women in various facets of content production, marketing and corporate leadership within India’s entertainment industry. This year, the report analyzed 156 films and series, across streaming and theatrical released in 2022 in 8 Indian languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati) to arrive at a comprehensive picture of the change that the industry has seen since 2021.

Along with Prime Video, the report has been supported by other partners from the industry including Clean Slate Filmz, Emmay Entertainment, Excel Entertainment, Jio Studio, Producers Guild India, RSVP, SonyLiv, Tiger Baby, and Zee5. Additionally, this year also saw industry leaders, including studio heads, filmmakers, actors, and more come forward to lay down actionable steps towards improving female representation in their personal and professional capacities. These pledges are expected to serve as guardrails that can guide the entire industry.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Creative Talent – Only 12% of the 780 HOD positions analyzed across key departments of direction, cinematography, editing, writing, and production design were held by women. While this is slightly more than 10% in 2021, the growth has entirely been led by streaming films and series, while theatrical films have remained stagnant since 2021. On a positive note, 31% of the properties had a female commissioning in-charge behind them, vis-à-vis 25% in 2021.
  • Content – While in 2021, 55% of the properties analyzed passed the Bechdel Test1, the number has gone below the half-way mark to 47% now. The biggest drop here has come from theatrical films; while 46% passed the test in 2021, only 34% managed to pass it in 2022. Series and films like Guilty Minds, Four More Shots Please! Season 3, Delhi Crime Season 2, Maja Ma, Gangubai Kathiawadi, among others, emerged as the properties with maximum scenes to pass the Bechdel Test.
  • Marketing – Women still get only 27% talk time2 in trailers; the number is the highest for streaming films with 33% talk time in trailers being allocated to women. Series and movies like Hush Hush, Gehraiyaan, The Fame Game, Ammu, A Thursday, Sita Ramam, among others, performed the best with at least 50% of talk time in trailers given to female leads.
  • Corporate Talent – Of the 135 Director/ CXO positions studied across 25 top M&E firms in India, only 13% were held by women.

Sharing his thoughts on the latest findings in O Womaniya!, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media said, “While there has been a slow but steady improvement in a few key parameters, the report has thrown light on the need to take a look at inclusion with a serious eye. Like the previous edition of the report, streaming continues to pave the way for female representation, however, the sub-par performance of theatrical films should serve as a wake-up call for the industry. I am glad to see the industry take note of the data and come together to pledge better representation, underscoring their genuine desire to see a positive change.”

Speaking about the report, Anupama Chopra, Founder & Editor, Film Companion said, “Entertainment is a powerful medium which can and must highlight inclusivity and diversity. O Womaniya! is our attempt to push the needle to move faster. We are thrilled to see greater participation from the industry, with key individuals taking on specific targets and actions to take this conversation forward. The steps taken to bring change may seem small but each step, each action matters, and with every edition of the O Womaniya! report, we believe we are moving a step closer to a more equitable ecosystem. I am grateful to Prime Video and Ormax Media for partnering with us on this unique initiative.”

"At Prime Video, we believe that diversity, equity and inclusion, is not just needed, it is essential. As an organization, we have always believed in equitable representation, not just within Prime Video and in our content, but also within the wider creative industry. By nurturing and empowering talented women within our industry, we can create a ripple effect of positive change in the wider ecosystem,” said Aparna Purohit, head of Originals, India & Southeast Asia, Prime Video. "O Womaniya! represents a collective effort to unite the industry and collaborate on enhancing female representation. The latest edition of the report strongly underscores the urgency of accelerating these transformative efforts. It's heartening to witness not only the committed support of partners but also the active participation of influential figures from the industry, including both men and women. They have not only pledged their personal commitment but also made broader corporate level commitments to champion greater female inclusivity.”

Some of the pledges taken include:

  • Alia Bhatt, actor and producer said, “I pledge to continue to promote diversity in my production projects.”
  • Shakun Batra, filmmaker said, “I pledge to promote diversity in my projects, to continue collaborating with and supporting intimacy professionals to ensure sets are a safe space for all.”
  • Gayatri & Pushkar, filmmakers said, “We pledge to continue to promote diversity in our projects, to continue to include women in writer’s rooms, and to continue to follow the government mandated PoSH guidelines and have an ICC within the organisation.”
  • Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions said, “I pledge to continue to promote diversity across all our verticals at Dharma Productions & Dharmatic Entertainment.”
  • Madhu Bhojwani, partner, Emmay Entertainment said, “I pledge to provide separate bathrooms with accessible sanitary products for women on set, to promote diversity in my projects, to include women in writer’s rooms, and to follow the government mandated PoSH guidelines and have an ICC within the organisation.”
  • Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, writer, director & author said, “I pledge to tell women’s stories with a narrative which is unique to them.”
  • Supriya Yarlagadda, producer & executive director, Annapurna Studios said, “We at Annapurna, are the first studio and production house to establish an ICC in the Telugu film industry. We shall continue with our endeavor to promote diversity in our productions and include women in writer’s rooms. Our environment is constantly evolving to support more women in the workplace.”

View all the pledges here:

1 The Bechdel Test, conceptualized by Alison Bechdel in 1985, is seen as an internationally-accepted yardstick on gender representation in content. A film is considered to have passed the Bechdel Test if it has at least one scene in which two named women are speaking, and the conversation is about something other than men/ a man. For streaming series, the criterion was modified to include three scenes, given their longer runtime.

2 Trailer Talk Time is a test created exclusively for O Womaniya! In this test, the main trailer of the film or series is analyzed and classified by the speaking time allotted to the male and female characters. The test reports % speaking time that was owned by female characters. The test gives an insight into how producers and platforms are marketing content. At 73% trailer talk time being controlled by the male characters, the results suggest that properties are being pitched from a male POV in their marketing.


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