Women in the Photography and Filmmaking industry in East Africa

Meet Marie Ainomugisha : A Womyn Force

A very short description we can give you of Marie is that, she is a content developer via visual and literary mediums. A fearless feminist who neither stands nor tolerates sexist ideals (follow her twitter account to witness this -> here), and a lover of African literature as well as Afro films. Her recent instagram stories on the #NBOFilmFest2 gave reviews of the films screened and an account of the festival overall; you can check out the highlights on her page -> here.

Woman - An autonomous being by @soafricane Click To Tweet

We were happy to have had insights on women in the photography and filmmaking industry from someone who knows a lot about that industry and who is always looking out for fellow women who are doing great in their respective industries.

via GIPHY

1. Are there women in the Photography and filmmaking space?  And what are they doing to contribute to the industry? 

I know. The harrowing myth that we don’t exist still lives on but there are women in this line of work, just like in any other, so I’ll do my best to echo talents across the East African region:

Film production companies in Kenya run by exceptional women: Spielworks Media Ltd founded by Dorothy Gituba, Ecila Productions Ltd founded by Joan Kabugu, Tufilamu Pictures co-founded by Christine Njeri, and my personal favorite, Afrobubblegum Media co-founded by Wanuri Kahiu, creating, supporting and commissioning fun, fierce and frivolous African art.

By Wanuri Kahiu

 

Dynamites in filmmaking: producers, screenwriters and directors like Hawa Essuman, Jenny Pont, Njeri Gitungo, Serah Mwihaki, Njeri Karago, Linda Karuru, Appie Matere and Ruby Kang’ethe from Kenya.

Nikissi Serumaga, Doreen Mirembe and Kemiyondo Coutinho from Uganda,

Kantarama Gahigiri, Amelia Umuhire, Marie Clementine Dusabejambo and Cynthia Butare from Rwanda,

Seko Shamte and Tulanana Bohela from Tanzania, to mention but a few.

In photography, which is my primary field, the profound and fierce canons include:

Shot by Marie Ainomugisha – soafricane.com

Thandiwe Muriu, Barbara Minishi, Khadija Farah, Jamila Hassan, Lyra Aoko, Mumbi Muturi-Muli, Tatiana Karanja, Kesh Nthamba, Faith Kanja and Selina Onyando from Kenya.

Sarah Waiswa, Max Bwire, Esther Mbabazi, Darlyne Komukama and myself from Uganda.

Neema Ngelime and Asteria Malinzi from Tanzania.

Kayibanda Alice, Rita Umuliza and Angela Mutegevu from Rwanda, to name a few.

 

 

Shot by Lyra Aoko – lyraoko.com

2. Are they being recognized as much? Do they face any pushbacks when working with their male counterparts?

Recognition in general is not easy to quantify but from an insider’s perspective, I would say that the women in the creative industry are very present and trying to put out just as much work as their male counterparts in all creative spheres.

However, the truth is that we are significantly less in number and that prompts under-valuing and under-crediting of work done on projects. This of course spirals down to the conversation around the evident pay gap and divergence in equal opportunities for women and men in these environs.

It is also besetting that even as of recent as 2017, panels devised to discuss women and the general progression of the creative industry are still highly under-representative of women.

let’s get these ladies more than a seat at the table, let’s make them the vanguards; co/lead-directing, producing, generating and executing creative ideas. Click To Tweet

Project front-lining. Allowing the creative visions of more women to spearhead projects will go a long way in eliminating biases in representation and encouraging storytelling through more than one lens. It’s no secret that diversity today is thriving now more than ever so let’s get these ladies more than a seat at the table, let’s make them the vanguards; co/lead-directing, producing, generating and executing creative ideas.

Shot by Sarah Waiswa – sarahwaiswa.com

Another setback worth touching on is “downplaying our own genius”. Historically, women have been socialized to be a lot more polite about how they navigate their careers and lives in general, whilst their male counterparts are self-assured and rightfully so. This is not lost on anyone that’s read “Lean In ” by Sheryl Sandberg and definitely not uncommon in the creative industry. Humility in passionate work is admirable but let’s also demand for more by being a lot more deliberate, forthright and equally aggressive in our negotiations and creative contributions.

Humility in passionate work is admirable but let’s also demand for more by being a lot more deliberate, forthright and equally aggressive in our negotiations and creative contributions. Click To Tweet
Shot by Neema Jodie Ngelime – thebongolese.com

 

3. What’s your take on gender parity in the creative industry?

Broadly speaking, my sentiments are that we are still progressing; there are more women picking up cameras now to vlog, record documentaries, pursue photography and so much more. The millennial generation of women in particular is taking advantage of the digital space and social media to send their message across: that we are present and we are doing equally outstanding work.

However, it is not unbeknownst to me that there are still extensive hurdles, a good majority of which can be jumped over when we work together to end discriminatory practices against women in the creative industry. I believe that this can be accomplished through having openly candid conversations, supporting each other and urging more inclusivity because at the end of the day, diversity wins.

The millennial generation of women in particular is taking advantage of the digital space and social media to send their message across: that we are present and we are doing equally outstanding work. Click To Tweet

 

We also asked her our infamous question on what it means to be a woman:

Woman – “An autonomous being

What does it mean to be a woman? – “Claiming your freedoms and existing unapologetically in them.

via GIPHY

 

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