We Need To Have Strong, Brave Women



NEW YORK: Seated next to Hollywood heavyweight Meryl Streep, America’s favorite comedian Jon Stewart and critically acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, Pakistan’s Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy drew great applause from a packed crowd in New York city’s Lincoln Center this week.

Tina Brown’s sixth annual ‘Women in the World Summit’ kicked off on Wednesday, featuring some of the world’s most inspiring leaders in the fight for social change.

This particular panel, moderated by Stewart, represented the role of filmmakers — on both sides of the lens — in portraying extraordinary and powerful women.

“Often we view women from my part of the world as victims. We need to have heroes. We need to have strong, brave women,” said Obaid-Chinoy.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker referred to one such hero, Syeda Fatima, who is fighting bonded labour in rural Punjab, and is also the subject of her most recent documentary.

The discomfort felt by audiences back home, is a desired outcome for Obaid-Chinoy. “I love making men uncomfortable. It is only when you have difficult conversations that you may look in the mirror and not like your reflection.”

Another hit speaker of the night from this part of the world was Bollywood’s beloved Amir Khan, who spoke about his television show Satyamev Jayate, which is an investigative talk show that has garnered 600 million viewers — close to half of India’s population.

How can a talk show that touches upon India’s most sensitive issues, such as caste, dowry, female foeticide and masculinity, resonate with such a wide audience?

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