Women’s Empowerment in Film; Raya, Menna Shalaby and More on the Role of Feminism in the Arts

El Gouna Film Festival held a symposium yesterday on women’s empowerment in film, which included director Jihan Taheri, director Najwi Najjar, star Menna Shalaby and filmmaker Dorothy Mayrami Kello.

The media seminar was moderated by Raya Abi Rashed in the Audi Max Cinema and was attended by a number of important public figures including Sherine Reda, Leeqa Al-Khamisi, Amr Mansi, founder and executive advisor of El Gouna Festival, Tara Emad, and more.

Director Jihan Tehri shed light on the fact that there’s a noticeable increase in the number of female directors which bodes well for women in the industry. Yet, we can rarely find female photographers, producers, and other technical professionals who play an important role in the industry. Even though big female names are at the forefront more and more, being there isn’t enough.. because unfortunately, they’re excluded from many decisions and that is a culture they should fight hard to change and create an alternate reality instead.

From Menna Shalaby’s side, she mentioned how she genuinely enjoys working with female colleagues and directors, but the problem of women being hindered from taking big decisions remains an issue. “Women’s roles in the industry are limited and that’s the biggest hurdle standing in female filmmaker’s way, in the Arab world and in Egypt in particular.. we need women to participate in all stages of the industry”

She further explained that she had a blast working alongside strong female actors like Hanan Turk and Menna Shalaby in the movie “Ahla el Aw’aat”, but the challenge of society accepting women’s’ portrayal as powerful continues despite all the powerful female leading actresses that represent a benchmark we can all aspire to reach.

We’re so happy the issue of women’s empowerment has become of concern to many who aren’t just talking about it but also raising awareness regarding the matter, paving the way for a better future, for all aspiring and powerful women to be able to take drastic decisions in the film industry, as well as other industries in the society.

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