Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio?

Why AREN'T there more women working in audio? It's not just audio engineering, which is what this interesting article from 2015 is about:

"Beyoncé, Ariana Grande or Nicki Minaj might have written your favorite song, but chances are slim that a woman engineered the track.

A boys’ club culture in sound engineering is so entrenched that in his two decades of recording more than 500 albums in Austin, Tim Dittmar has worked with just one female engineer, and she was an assistant. Nationally, the odds are roughly 1 in 10 that a sound engineering technician is a woman, the most recent U.S. Department of Labor numbers show.

To help turn this around, Dittmar, the owner of Las Olas Recording, recruits women to the Music Business, Performing and Technology program at Austin Community College, where he has taught for 15 years. Raechelle Steward juggles four part-time audio tech jobs with classes at the University of Texas at Austin, where she plans to graduate in May from the Butler School of Music with a recording technology degree.

As moonlight pierced the glass exterior of UT’s Student Activity Center on a recent evening, Steward, 24, set up audiovisual equipment for a range of activities — from small events in meeting rooms to concerts in the auditorium. Seated cross-legged in a black chair in the center’s A/V office, she described a few of the barriers to breaking into the boys’ club. For one, she rarely encounters people who look like her, an African-American woman, in the Butler recording studio. And, she said, men often assume she needs help carrying her equipment."

Read the whole story over at Reporting Texas...

But wait, because The Atlantic just published THIS, which talks about how little has changed:

"On a hot summer day in Nevada City, California, a group of teenage girls are scattered before a stage in the town’s cultural center. They’re studying an analog soundboard, which is covered with so many knobs and levers that it looks like it belongs in the cockpit of an airplane. Onstage, a band is doing a sound check, which requires lots of drumming, strumming, and saying “check” into a microphone.

“Check is a really annoying word,” the guitar player says. “Yeah, it’s losing all meaning,” the bassist replies.

It’s the last day of the week-long Live Sound Camp for Girls. This afternoon, there will be a show, but the band won’t be the real focus. Rather, the performance will be a chance for 16 girls—and a few boys—to show off the live music-production skills they’ve learned by controlling all the technical aspects of the concert on their own.

The camp’s instructor, Tiffany Hendren, hovers by the soundboard as the teenagers take turns with the headphones. One participant, 17-year-old Mary Vogel, explains the intricacies of micing a drum set to me.  “You’re creating something live right in front of you,” she says of sound engineering. “You’re making it richer. You’re taking out the little buzzes and snaps and things you just don’t want to hear because it takes away from the performance.” Vogel, who has spent two summers at the camp, says she’s considering taking music-production classes in college next year.

Sound Camp, which has events in California as well as St. Louis, Philadelphia, and New York, is part of SoundGirls.org, an organization co-founded by Karrie Keyes, the live-sound engineer for Pearl Jam. Keyes tells me she started the camp to encourage girls and introduce them to potential careers in audio. “It lets them get their hands on the gear before anyone can discourage them or frighten them away,” she says."

The craziest part of all this is that however much progress is being made on the engineering side, there has been literally no movement on the retail side, especially the hi-performance retail side. Go into any hi-end audio store, or even a party at such a store, and you are unlikely to see a single woman present. Unless it's someone's wife. Or the caterer.

What's going on? A lot more than even these articles will tell you.

Hi-end audio retail needs a reboot, or it's going to die a self-inflicted death.

Photo Credit; Rocio Tueme/Reporting Texas