Initiated by the Zulumoke Oyibo, co-founder of Inkblot Productions, the Inkblot Women In Film (IWIF) was created to advocate for women’s inclusiveness and impartial access in the Nigerian Film Industry.
With the objective of tackling social, ethical and professional issues surrounding women in Nollywood, IWIF aims at creating a working environment that is safe and free.
“The industry is opening up now, and as we continue to grow, it will be great to have it less fragmented and informal than it currently is. The IWIF is to ensure that we put together whatever we need to get the industry to become the standard industry that we desire it to be,” Oyibo emphasized at the third edition of the group.
In attendance at the event were top Nigerian women making a mark in the film industry that share the same vision as the IWIF and are ready to take actionable steps. From disrespect to unequal pay, sexism and more, they shared first-hand experiences of issues women face in Nollywood.
Eku Edewor, actor, producer and host, made reference to the portrayal of sexism in Nollywood, mentioning that some female producers and writers are guilty of this as well. “Considering that women make up 60 percent of the Nollywood film audience, it is important that women are represented better in films, rather than telling the story from the male gaze: from characterization to story, costumes and more,” – Edewor said proffering a solution.
Another issue that was brought into the limelight is the gender pay gap. We are currently in the 21st Century where women are strongly rooting for gender equality but the sad reality of inequality is still very apparent in various industries. For instance, many of the attendees at IWIF confirmed that women still earn less than men, for doing equal work in some productions. What’s even more shocking is that there have been cases where male supporting actors got paid more than the female leads.
Michelle Dede, actor and presenter, said, “One of the things that always stuck out when I first came to work here (Nigeria) was the fact that people felt the male host of a show should be better paid than the female, even though the woman would have done all the research and is better equipped than her male counterpart”. To solve this, it was suggested that Nollywood welcomes a standard/union level fee structure as is practiced in some other film industries across the globe, even in South Africa. A structure in the industry that caters to what everyone should be entitled to base on expertise and experience, regardless of gender.
Other topics discussed extensively at the IWIF included the implementation of insurance policies, mentorship for younger women in the industry, establishment of creative spaces for networking and inclusion of women in technical roles, contact channels and support for women facing challenges, etc.
In attendance at the event were Nancy Isime, actor and talk show host; Efe Irele, actor & producer; Eku Edewor, actor/producer/TV Host; Ibukun Omisore, insurance broker; Jemima Osunde, actor & physiotherapist; Joy Azumar ,Lawyer; Michelle Dede, actor and presenter,; Omowunmi Akinnifesi, beauty queen/founder, Global woman Africa; Teniola Olatoni, director/producer); Funmilola Odubitan, insurance broker; Uche Odoh, director & producer, Amaka Akukwe (founder, Redbox Events;, and Omawumi Ogbe, PR & Communications Consultant.
Following events of IWIF will welcome more attendees thereby enlarging its coast to create safer and more inclusive environment in Nollywood and beyond. “Creating platforms like these where people can meet, have relevant conversations without any hidden agenda except to move the industry forward for women is very commendable, ” Joy Azumara, Lawyer at Jackson Etti & Edu remarked.