By: Laurène Toustain & Marjorie Loiseau, digital marketing managers for broadcast solutions
From leadership to technical roles – and even if numbers are slowly growing – women are still quite rare in the broadcast industry and more globally in the MET industry. Women accounted for only 18 per cent of behind-the-scenes roles in the top 250 grossing films, up by 1 per cent compared to 2016, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Marie Wilson, the famous American actress, speaking about women’s leadership across business, politics, and media.
Sadly, this largely remains true, especially in our industry when it’s sometimes hard to find female experts. Not that they don’t exist, but it appears women are often not given a chance or not considered experienced enough to share wise and valuable expertise on panels or conferences. And the result is clear: we lose tons of female talents every day within our industry.
But there are several initiatives to help attract and retain more women in this male-dominated industry, fighting gender imbalance and raising the volume of female voices.
Here are five of them:
BBC has a program called “Expert Woman”. It was launched to tackle the disparity between male and female experts because male experts outnumbered female experts by almost four-to-one at the BBC. Thus, for more parity, BBC is looking for female experts to appear on air or as contributors. The BBC Expert Woman program is a collaboration between the BBC Academy and Broadcast Magazine, with support from BBC Diversity, Creative Skillset, Channel 4, Sky, ITV and the wider broadcast industry. The program welcomes applicants from any area of expertise. It has developed a database of women with expertise and dedicated YouTube channel in an attempt to boost the number of female contributors featured on its TV and radio programmes. Click here to see their YouTube channel.
Alongside this, the BBC has launched a series of highly popular ‘Expert Women’ training days that offer insight and networking opportunities to demystify the media and boost skills.
Initiatives for woman are numerous at the BBC. On 8th March (Woman’s Day), they collated a selection of articles written about women by women.
“We’re launching an umbrella association to solve equality by 2025 in the media entertainment and technology industry,” explained Ichinomiya on stage during the 2017 Hollywood Innovation & Technology Summit.
When asked how they could complete this objective within eight years, she explained that we now have the power to mobilize teams to solve problems; the superpower of the technology industry combined with the ability to tell that story and spread the message by leveraging that superpower.
So far, professional development, mentoring and networking, and community engagement are the three pillars of WiTH organization. By helping women build strong careers and encouraging them to share, collaborate and involve younger generations in becoming leaders, they aim to empower all women in media, entertainment, and technology.
Last but not least, the WiTH Leadership Awards took place on the main stage at MESA’s event on May 17th. These awards honored female and male role models who encourage women to be strong and confident leaders. All donations were redistributed to charity organizations that share the same values towards women.
Initially called Females in the Broadcast Industry (FBI), Rise is a non-profit group for gender diversity within the broadcast technology sector. It was founded by Sadie Groom after conducting a survey revealing the obvious misrepresentation of women in broadcast.
Now they organize events such as talks, meetings, networking sessions or workshops to open up new opportunities for women and help them grow professionally.
Last February, they launched the first UK-based mentoring scheme for women aiming at supporting women in operations, engineering, sales, marketing and business roles in the industry, by encouraging exchange between experienced professionals and mentees over different encounters.
Women in Film & Television is a global network, formed of approximately 14,000 members divided into 47 WIFTI chapters in Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Oceania. Accordingly, board members are from all parts of the world: from Germany and USA to UK, Canada or Sweden. This network offers the possibility of joining the action by starting your own WIFTI non-profit chapter as long as established requirements and other legal terms are respected. You also must share the same fundamental values and ideals, which are to enhance opportunities and support professional achievement for women working in all areas of film, TV, radio or digital media.
They hosted a panel on 12 May at the Cannes Film Festival called, “Working For Change: Filmmaking In the New Landscape”. Swedish film producer Andrea Reuter moderated the panel and speakers included Head of Film Funding Kristina Börjeson, Director of Alliance of Women Directors Kate Rees Davies, CEO of uMedia Adrian Politowski, and VP and Executive Director at Variety Steve Gaydos.
Panelists discussed inequalities from hiring and position to payment of women in front and behind-the-scenes.
Women on TV is the first OTT television network offering to subscribers original content created by women for women, describing themselves as a “one-stop viewing spot filled with shows that excite, educate and entertain women of all ages.” Created in 2016 by Jayne Rios and Shea Vaughn, Women’s Broadcast Television Network now has reached 30 million subscribers on ROKU, Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.
WBTVN targets women aged 25 to 60, moms and professionals, looking for informative, compelling and entertainment content (lifestyle, business, environment, health, art, science, finance, and more) through 24 hours per day and seven days per week original programming.
In a previous interview for Talking Business, Shea Vaughn described WBTVN’s desire to find experienced and passionate experts who don’t have a platform of their own and the drive to give speakers the opportunity to promote themselves and their brand to a broader audience by delivering great messages.
These are five great examples of initiatives for women in media, entertainment and technology. We believe these organizations will help bring about the changes that are necessary in our industry and greatly lessen the gender gap that current exists. Lots of effort has been made in the last few years to help raise the voice of women in our industry and we can see that things are slowly getting better.
We hope to cover this topic more widely in the future!