NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A nearly six-decade ban on women being employed as make-up artists in India’s film industry is set to end after the Supreme Court said it was gender biased and should not continue for a day longer, the Indian Express said on Tuesday.
India’s $2-billion film industry is the largest in world by ticket sales. It produces between 300 to 325 movies a year and, although there are no official figures, trade analysts say the Hindi-language industry alone employs more than 250,000 people, most of them contract workers.
While women work in most areas including as technicians and hairdressers, the industry does not allow women to work as make-up artists. Trade unions say this is to ensure men are not deprived of work.
But in a court case brought by a group of female make-up artists against the Cine Costume Make-up Artists and Hair Dressers Association (CCMAA), a two-judge bench said on Monday it would not permit this type of discrimination, the newspaper reported.
“Why should only a male artist be allowed to put make-up? How can it be said that only men can be make-up artists and women can be hairdressers? We don’t see a reason to prohibit a woman from becoming a make-up artist if she is qualified,” the Indian Express quoted Justices Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit as saying.
“You better delete this clause on your own. Remove this immediately. We are in 2014, not in 1935. Such things cannot continue even for a day,” they told the CCMAA.
The Indian Express said the petition was brought by make-up artist Charu Khurana and other qualified female artists whose applications for make-up artist identification cards were rejected by the CCMAA because they are women.
While this case related to the Mumbai-based Hindi and English-language film industry which is known as Bollywood, the court said it will take action against regional language film industries based in cities such as Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad which also bar women make-up artists.
Editing by Katie Nguyen