Presently, five of the seven top content executives are women at Netflix India. Vice-president of content at Netflix India, Monika Shergill’s career spans nearly two and a half decades.
Monika joined Netflix India in 2019 and appointed an army of women to head the film and series slate.
The team included Tanya Bami as the series head and Pratiksha Rao as original films and licensing director.
Evolution of female actors
Ms. Shergill has witnessed the evolution of female actors. From playing caricatures reflecting traditional patriarchal views to playing flawed and nuanced characters.
Monika further added, “the fact that my team has women leading the development of films and series helps bring a different energy and perspective to the table.”
Moreover, Monika says, while women must support each other, real equity begins when men watch and support the content created by these women.
Netflix’s global workforce
According to Netflix’s latest inclusion report presented in February, their global workforce grew from 8,000 to 10,000 full-time employees globally.
Furthermore, Netflix’s global workforce grew from 48.7% in 2020 to 51.7% of women employees.
Additionally, women working as top executives at Netflix India break stereotypes deep-rooted in India’s entertainment industry.
Monika also added that Netflix understands the power of female voices both on-screen and behind the camera.
Women leading the screen at Netflix India
Monika said, “looking for powerful stories is at the center of our programming strategy, but we do ask for women-centric stories that we want a fair number of in our slate.”
“We may have a long way to go, but we’re making conscious progress in terms of diversity and inclusion to reflect as many lives as we can.”
Furthermore, the number of women actors making their streaming debut rose to over 50 since 2018.
The list of women actors includes Surveen Chawla (Decoupled), Aditi Rao Hydari and Parineeti Chopra (The Girl on the Train), and Tandon (Aranyak).
Not only on screen but women behind the screen are major contributors at Netflix India.
Women writers at Netflix India include Alankrita Srivastava, Sonam Nair, Gazal Dhaliwal, Nupur Pai, and Kanika Dhillon.
Monika further added, “it’s not just a social responsibility but also great for the entertainment business because women consume a fair bit of content, and if we don’t bring out their stories, it’s like having only half a perspective.”
What is coming up on Netflix India?
In 2021, 18 Netflix originals featured women in central roles, while 15 women-centric titles are coming up in 2022.
In the coming months, the shows and movies include Chkda Xprss, Heeramandi, Mai, O My Darling, and the second of Masaba Masaba.
The actors featured in the list mentioned above include Anushka Sharma, Neena Gupta, Tabu, Sanya Malhotra, and Masaba.
Furthermore, Netflix actively hires women of color for the writer, director, and produce of originals.
The work environment at Netflix India
Sonam Nair says, “it is now more common to see women in other leadership roles. Also, earlier, one was asked to make do with whatever the producers wanted to give us, but one is happy with what one is paid now.”
Furthermore, Netflix does not restrict women into stereotypical roles specified to age and looks.
Surveen Chawla says, “there has been an evolution in terms of the content written for women, and some of it specifically for them, today. There is a lot of steam right now but there is no room for complacency.”
“We must keep our blinkers on to bring more women writers and technicians on board to tell stories that are sensitive, and also towards men.”
“Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” is the theme given by the UN for Women’s Day 2022.
The top women executives at Netflix India are living proof of this theme. While gender equality is a long journey, it has begun nonetheless.