We often hear of new schemes and ideas attempting to address the imbalance of women and minorities in higher technical and STEM roles.

Now a 5-minute survey is looking to highlight an even less discussed industry – specifically technical roles in media and television – in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of women’s experiences in these roles.

Dr Sarah Sparke, a Research Associate at the University of the West of England‘s Centre for Moving Image Research, is leading the project entitled Women in Media Industry Technical Roles (WiMITR).

“There is still a clear need to examine and raise awareness of the gender statistics and experience of technical media roles”

 

She explains: “It is increasingly well known that the stats on women in the media industry are not where we would hope they would be. From the latest Skillset Census, we know that levels of women in the creative media workforce are far lower than the average for the wider UK working population.

“Work by action groups such as Women in Film and TV, Illuminatrix and Reel Angels has shown that there is still a clear need to examine and raise awareness of the gender statistics and experience of technical media roles in order to understand them better and work together to make changes.

“We’d like to identify and analyse the female contribution and experience of working in technical roles behind the camera. For example, Directors of Photography, Camera Operators, Camera Assistants, Grip, Gaffer, Spark, Graphics, Editors, Sound Recordists and Colourists.”

Get involved

So if you fit the bill, you can help by responding to the WiMITR survey and by spreading the word.

“A key aim is to raise visibility and awareness of women in technical roles”

 

Sarah adds: “We are very keen to hear from women based in all parts of the UK, working in any form of technical role and any type of output. Whether that’s in TV, online, interactive media, features, art, community, commercial, funded, self-funded. And as a freelancer, contracted, part-time, full-time, paid or unpaid.

“The more participants, the more useful the results. A key aim is to raise visibility and awareness of women in technical roles, and through this help to create a wave of peer support to move forward together, as well as role models to inspire the next generation. Stand and be counted!”

Raising awareness

For just one short survey, there are many hopes and aims for improving the outlook for women in technical media roles across the UK. Sarah tells us: “With the results of the survey, we’re hoping to help raise awareness of the current situation and create change.”

In addition to this, it’s hoped the results of the survey will help to:

  • Raise the visibility of the number of women working in technical roles in this region and beyond;
  • Explore experiences of women and draw the connections between their experiences;
  • See what (if anything) practitioners would like to help in developing their career;
  • Collect ideas on what practitioners feel is needed to change the current low representation of women in this sector of creative media, and
  • Work with collaborative partners to help achieve this.

If you’re a woman working in a technical media role, you can take the survey here. To find out more, check out the WiMITR website. You can also follow the progress of the research on Twitter: @wimitruk.

Alice Whale