Population First, with the support of Colors, International Advertising Association (IAA) and UNFPA India, announced the winners of the First South Asia Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 on 12 May 2017 in Mumbai. The awards were presented by the chief guest of the event Shashi Tharoor, MP, and hosted by the Barkha Dutt.
Star India bagged the 'Game Changer' award for its ‘Nayi Soch’ campaign, conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather.
In all, the awards for gender sensitivity honoured 37 media for excellence in gender portrayal. This year, for the first time it invited entries from five South Asian nations with the support of IAA. The entries were invited and the best were chosen from five nations – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Nepal.
Tharoor said, "Media is a messenger which wielded power, but is also bound by responsibility. Media is a mirror that exists not to flatter, but to reveal what is lacking in our society, which is flawed and must be corrected.”
Dr. A.L. Sharada, director, Population First, said, “From a mere 100 entries in 2007 to more than 1,500 entries in 2015, Laadli Media Awards have come a long way in acknowledging the media’s contribution in women empowerment and gender issues. Today with the expansion of Laadli to other developing nations through the support of IAA, we look forward to stories pertaining to gender from five South Asian countries. We hope to continue this momentum, and create a long standing impact of changing the society riddled with patriarchal mindsets”.
The ‘Best Short Film’ was given to Radhika Puri for her short film ‘Water Wives’ which digs into the existing system of husbands marrying multiple times in order to have wives double as labourers to fetch water.
The ‘Books in the Novella’ category award was given to Volga for her book Liberation of Sita published by Harper Collins.
The award for ‘Films’ was given to Parched’ and ‘Neel Battey Sannatta’.
The ‘Best Play’ was given to 'Shikhandi' the story of the In-betweens, written and directed by Faezeh Jalali.
The South Asia Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 - Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Kamla Bhasin,a women’s rights activist.
On the night also announcement were four recipients of The Laadli Media Fellowship. These journalists include Katta Kavitha from Telugu daily regional Nava Telengana, Shreya Ila Anusuya, a freelance journalist, Sindhuvasini from BBC Hindi and Vinaya Deshpande from Sunday Guardian. Each of the journalist receiving the fellowship will write four investigative reports over a period of four months on the theme of gender and sexuality.