Vikalp Actress Neha Sharma On Gender Disparity In Showbiz: ‘Even When I Started, I Felt That Men Were Given More Respect, Just Because Of Their Gender’-EXCLUSIVE

Neha Sharma, who was recently seen in the short film Vikalp that talks about workplace harassment and gender inequality, talks about playing her character and the gender disparity that she faced in showbiz

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Vikalp Actress Neha Sharma On Gender Disparity In Showbiz: ‘Even When I Started, I Felt That Men Were Given More Respect, Just Because Of Their Gender’-EXCLUSIVE
Recently, Neha Sharma was seen in a short film by Select Large Short Films, titled Vikalp. The short tells the story of a small-town girl who comes to the big city to forge her own path, after much deliberation with her parents. However, here she faces workplace harassment and is left to make a big decision of how to go forward.

Neha insists that it hadn’t been easy getting into the head space of her character in the film, Shivani. “It is never easy to play someone who has been through something like this because even if it is to just portray on screen, you have to feel all those things and it isn’t easy. I won’t say it’s as traumatising as experiencing it first-hand, it’s of course not. But you have to be Shivani to play Shivani,” she says.

The actress relates to her character on multiple levels. “I know how challenging it is for a girl to come from a small town to a city like Mumbai, where you are anyway struggling to make ends meet and you are trying to prove to the rest of the world and to yourself that you can make it on your own. The struggles you have to go through all of that is not easy,” she avers.

Neha says that we all talk about gender-bias and want equality but all of us have heard of such stories happening to people around us. “Some survive it, while some break down. When my director brought this story to me, I felt that this is something that needs to be spoken about. There are a lot of times that these things happen but due to societal pressure or peer pressure, people are unable to come forward with it. Through this film, we want to create awareness and say that it’s not okay and we are here to support each other, especially women. I have heard too many of these stories and so for me, this film was something important that I do, so that I can create whatever little amount of awareness I can and motivate people to come forward and speak against it. I know change won’t happen overnight but with people knowing that this is not okay, eventually there will be a change,” she hopes.

Ask Neha if she has ever faced any similar issue in her journey in showbiz and she shares, “There is gender inequality of course, as we see in the pay gap. Even when I started, I felt that men in the workplace were given more respect, just because of their gender. It’s really strange as when an actor and actress work on a film, they put the same amount of effort but still there’s a difference in the pay-cheque and that’s a battle that is being fought for a while now.”

The actress says that it’s just the state of mind of people that men should be paid more than the women, irrespective of the fact that the hours and effort they put in are the same. “It’s not like they put in anything different. Men end up being in the more powerful position due to that but it is changing now. There are women CEOs and leaders and things are absolutely changing but when I began, I also felt that men were more at a power position.”

Relating to her initial days, Neha recalls that at that time there was a lack of female directors and producers. “Those are the things that really need to change for us to feel equal. There is so much spoken about it but not much done. These are the things you don’t speak about, but experience. Even in writing, the situation is the same. Now, a lot of female-oriented films are being made and female writers are also coming up, but they are still not treated with as much respect as male writers. The gender bias has been there but it’s slowly changing for the better,” she asserts.

Image source: SpotboyE archives, Instagram/nehasharmaofficial