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Dr. Shamoly Khera On Why We Need More Women In The Media

Indian culture in general isn’t too encouraging towards women when it comes to speaking up or sharing their opinion. This is one of the prime reasons why Dr. Shamoly Khera launched ‘Speak To Inspire’ because she strongly feels that speaking up is the first step to bringing any kind of change.

Dr. Shamoly Khera
Dr. Shamoly Khera

Power woman Dr. Shamoly Khera is a woman of multiple talents. She is a TV Presenter, the Director at her media distribution house, runs her coaching company ‘Speak To Inspire’, is a motivational speaker and is now also a bestselling author. We speak to her on why having women in the media can be a power shift for the women of India.

Why do you think we need more women in the media?
Dr. Shamoly Khera says, “The current men to women ration in the Indian media space is skewed. I do agree that there are a considerable amount of women presenters, directors, producers writers who are now being recognized and thriving – but because this is all compared to how it was decades back, it just seems more. This shouldn’t be satisfying to us yet. We need to make space for more women voices to enter the field of media. The way a woman tells a story is different than a man, and I believe we need that kind of empathy in our stories even more today than before.”

Why do you think this ratio is skewed?
Dr. Shamoly Khera shares, “I came across a recent study that said the women in media have drastically dropped to 15% in 2020 as compared to 22% in 2015. There are a considerable amount of women in front of the camera – but this is generally subject to casual sexism, glamour and fashion spaces. Women as speakers, writers, journalists need to take up more space – we need more female voices conveying the stories of the world.”

What can we do to balance this ratio?
“I was shocked to find out that there has been a drastic decrease in the number of women reporters in print media from 43% to 13% between 2015 and 2020, and from 60% to 52% in television. A lot of the dwindling down comes from our culture. Indian culture in general isn’t too encouraging towards women when it comes to speaking up or sharing their opinion. This is one of the prime reasons why I launched ‘Speak To Inspire’ because I strongly feel that speaking up is the first step to bringing any kind of change. Women in media become bold and fearless. And that is a trait that can help a woman for life. We need to bring up more confident girls whose voices are encouraged from the beginning. I respect powerful fearless women like Barkha Dutt, Faye D’ Souza and Palki Sharma who are not afraid to call spade a spade.” 

Dr. Shamoly Khera is a forthright individual today but she recollects being a quiet shy kid until she discovered her passion for stage and media. 

“I think being in media really opened my voice up, making me feel like it mattered. Growing up, it brought a powerful shift within me of making myself heard on issues that deeply mattered to me. When a girl or a woman realizes that her voice can take space, her aura and strength is different – that’s when she truly realizes the power she has to make a change. I want more women in Media so that more girls get inspired to bring spotlight on issues that matter to their tribe, that can make a difference for the next generation of women. We need to focus on bringing up empowered girls that own this power to make that change.”

A lot of women do enter the field of media and journalism, but the ratio soon changes. Why do you think that’s happening?
“Dropping out is a common scenario that we are also noticing in the STEM branches (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The route of marriage, pregnancy, kids often derails the path of a woman in any field as she is expected to step back from her duties and ‘manage’ her work. This is certainly changing in the educated fabric of cities but unfortunately, the change of mindset in deeper tiers needs more time. Hopefully more mothers will multitask to bring in more daughters with strong voices.”

Media has been blamed for portraying women incorrectly. What’s your take?
“Glamourizing women has always been a part of media. Today in the world of clickbait, we cannot control the way a woman’s fashion sense is used for entertaining purposes. When we start seeing more women of opinion, more women who speak and write, somewhere it will start revolutionizing the fact that women behind the camera and behind the scenes are as powerful as they are in front of the camera.”

Dr. Shamoly Khera has recently launched a program for women leaders on honing their executive presence and helping them increase their influence at work.