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Women to Women- Ta’a Marboutah is a one year project that aims to empower, train, and build capacity of women filmmakers in the MENA region toward creating more gender sensitive, responsive and aware media. The process included round table discussions with senior artists in the region, online circulation for consultations to a wide base network of stakeholders and partners, research of previous works, a draft guideline/manifesto, as well as focused training for a group of early and mid-career women filmmakers from Lebanon and Jordan. Karama 2018 will host a Women to Women mini conference with the participation of prominent female workers in the audiovisual field. The mini conference action will work toward finalizing and ratifying the project’s manifesto.

Photo of the first roundtable Oct. 2019

Observational Guidelines

Art has noble and absolute value, every artist either a director or author has the right to showcase his/her footprint and to produce what represent them.

Team work and crews should be balanced in respect to gender equality between men and women roles، inclusive of decision making roles and equal pay.

Women do have the right to assume all roles and posts based on their qualifications and capabilities. .

Equal pay and compensation between women and men in the audio and visual industry should be realized through spreading awareness between those who work in the field especially the producers. There is a need to raise awareness in regard to labour rights and providing the right working environment for pregnant women and mothers. These points should be addressed in contractual agreements when recruiting in the cinema and TV industry.

Emphasize on women‘s role in the audio and visual industry to work on addressing women‘s stereotyping through the subjects and themes that they tackle and address.

Women have the right to choose the content and the type of the artistic product and they have the right to realize their potential through experimental work. They should be supported if they were challenged socially or questioned legally.

Activate solidarity between women workers in the industry and creating solidarity groups

Explore ways and methods for collaboration, exchange and solidarity between workers in the field and to be inclusive of men in these efforts.

Protect female characters who have appearance in documentary films from being enticed through financial rewards and make sure they are not subject to any potential risks in case that the content of the films would lead to certain consequences and escalations

Guarantee the privacy of the characters in documentary films and make sure to work in secrecy and do not expose the characters to hazards. There should be binding commitment to the code of the conduct of filmmaking profession. Awareness about the responsibility and legal liability must be raised in this regard.

Hiring social specialists at the filming set while working on documentary film that has critical social nature that might be traumatising, overwhelming and shocking. There should special attention paid for scenes that involve violence or social implications.

Attract the youth audiences and work on grass-root awareness at an early stage at schools and universities

Overcome the authority of taboos and censorship and get over the backwards traditions that limits progression.

Enrich civic and progressive elements in the society which eliminates the religious, political and tribal restrictions.

Realise deeper work on gender type from cultural and social perspectives as well as traditions during developing content and treatments

Raise awareness and lobby with relevant unions to support women’s rights while setting contractual agreements and work on setting policies in this regard.

Create real pressure to reject the stereotyping of women in the executive productions either in-front or behind the camera. Involve male and female celebrities in these efforts and put a limit for the production dynamics that do undermine women‘s dignity

Work towards establishing funds that do finance women‘s projects in the audio and visual industry and the topics and themes related to women‘s issues.

Addressing women’s stereotyping in-front of the camera

 

  • Ensuring that women are represented as active and positive character with various dimensions. Avoid stereotyping women’s roles, image and impact during the process of scriptwriting and treatment of roles. Women’s roles should reflect the conformity of women’s behavior with their beliefs and desires and represent themselves, despite external pressures. Women characters should be part of the decision-making.

 

  • Emphasize on showcasing Arab women contemporary role in the society and to be strongly present on the screen. There should be focus on success stories but in line with reality.

 

  • Walkout from the traditional stereotyping of women and emphasize on her humanity even if the role does represent weak or bad angles. This should be addressed while writing scripts and characters‘ treatment. There should be emphasize on women‘s roles in drama work and never undermine addressing women‘s issues

 

  • Avoid reversal stereotyping in the artistic treatment. Scripts should be studied carefully from psychological and behavioural perspectives, starting from scriptwriting until the executive production and post production.

 

  • Bold and daring scenes should be tackled as per the dramatic development and inline with the director‘s vision. There should be warning and classification in regard to viewers‘ age groups.

 

  • Enforce women‘s presence across various roles within the social dynamics and make sure that man always have presence in these dynamics.

 

  • Avoid stereotyping driven by women’s looks and age and specifying their roles based on these two factors. This should be addressed early at scriptwriting stage, casting and production stages. Doors need to be open from women’s roles disregarding age and should not be based on looks.

 

Serious research efforts should be conducted while developing women‘s roles in film and TV drama. This should lead to representing women‘s educated, intellectual and diverse image.

 

Focus  on positive, realistic and progressive rolrd – – and  void the victim labeling and the pastoral role of women. Meanwhile the stories of victims should not be ignored or undermined. Adapting the cases of victims and supporting them should continue.

  • Improve good content through addressing it artistically, technically and creatively.
  • Disregard poor art and productions that fall short in treating the characters and dehumanize them. These productions do deepen stereotyping and negative messages.

 

  • Whenever there are roles that have stereotyping elements but is driven from drama development necessities there should be highly artistic and smart treatment to enforce the message behind these roles and urge constructive change

 

  • Actresses should be educated about their roles and the possibility of putting pressure on the scriptwriter to address their roles and have the freedom to change.

 

Organize workshops and forums to raise awareness and introduce scriptwriting modules in these activities

  • Engage influencers to be part of these awareness sessions such as YouTubers and activists who stand for women’s rights.
  • Develop on demand mentoring and advisory through online platform.
  • Develop partnerships with cultural and artistic programs, event and festivals to include awanress programs and forums about gender equality.
  • Initiate the circulation of the manifesto amongst industry workers, academics and activists to validate it and lobby for support and endorsement.

We,  ”Ta‘a Marboutah“, are a group of activists, workers and academics in the field of audio and visual industry in the Arab World, working collectively on addressing the issue of women‘s stereotyping in the TV drama series, cinema and documentary films.

Our research at ”Ta‘a Marboutah“ is concentrated on two main pillars; 1) women‘s image in front of the camera and drama content related to gender equality issues. 2) Women‘s professional working conditions behind the camera. The research covers trends and content across the Arab World in the last five years.

We work on advancing the professional and creative trends in the drama and cinematic scene in the Arab World towards achieving gender balance throughout artistic and creative content and realizing a stage where gender stereotyping is seriously addressed and reported.

A project by: Ma3mal612 Think Factory in Amman in collaboration with UMAM Research and Development, Beirut. Funded by SouthMed WiA, co-funded by the European Union under the Med Film regional program.