On May 4, the Shahnaz Husain Group called me to their office for a photography job opening. On May 5, I had an hour-long conversation with the HR team regarding the shoots. Once we finalised everything, they took me to Shahnaz Husain’s house to meet her in person and proceed.
I waited for an hour and when she finally came, she didn’t see my portfolio, she didn’t see my CV and straightaway turned to her manager and said, “I don‘t want a woman to do my shoot. I don’t think women can do photography. Please assign her some other desk job but not this. Later there are issues with them regarding security and working late hours. Please get a male photographer for me.”
Her team, told her, ‘She is perfect for the job and please look at her portfolio once.’ And she said, ‘No.’
I told her, “I have been in this field for four years and timings have never been an issue, please look at my work once and then decide.”
She was adamant about her decision and her team apologised to me. She hired a man who was a beginner over me.
For those of you who don’t know Shahnaz Husain, she is a renowned Indian woman entrepreneur and owner of the famous cosmetic brand named after her. She’s been awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government and is known as the woman who inspired many women to become entrepreneurs.
I am sorry to tell you, respected ma’am, but women are slaying in every industry. Women can be whatever they want to be in life. To my knowledge, there are many female photographers in the industry who are fighting hard to break the glass ceiling.
My only question to you is: How did you manage to get news articles published about you that quote you saying things you don’t believe in?
I thank you for making me wait for over an hour to tell me that women can’t click photographs.
Please stop gendering roles and telling women what they can or can’t do.
I don’t feel let down or angry because I know nothing can stop me from becoming what I want. Not people like you, not anyone.
Before we ask men to stop pulling women back, let’s support and choose each other based on capabilities and not gender.
Reject me for not having enough talent and I would appreciate it but do not reject me by saying I’m a woman.
An add-on: I feel bad for the male photographer she hired. He was asked to work round the clock for the whole month, has to stay at her house all the time and sleep on the floor, on a pay of just ₹15k.