Women In Lighting – Take THAT, Y Chromosome!

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I have a distinct memory of being 18 years old and working one of my first concerts ever as a hand, and hearing some d-bag say “women can’t climb truss — their boobs get in the way!”  That woman gave that scumbag the hardest smack I have ever heard someone get, and rightfully so.

@EmLah from the great Twitterverse sent me a link a few days ago, and I think it is awesome. Women face unique challenges in the lighting industry and now have a place to gather online to share their experiences. Women In Lighting is a website that offers women a forum to highlight achievements by women in the lighting fields.  The site also offers job listings, resources, and industry news.

Check out the Women In Lighting website – be supportive!

(Thanks, Norman Rockwell!)

8 COMMENTS

  1. I have a love/hate relationship for anytime the whole “Females in the Industry” subject comes up. Obviously, I have a natural kinship with other females anytime I happen to run into them on jobsite… but it’s the same kinship feelings that I get for people that went to the same college as me, or people that like the same vodka I like. The problem for me is that focusing on the fact that we’re “Women” immediately separates us and highlights us as a minority, which then overshadows any/all of the expertise and experience we may have. People are aware that we’re female, ok? Yes, there are some in this industry that really don’t like working with the ladies. You can’t change their mind, and I’m fine with that. I don’t like working with idiots (male or female), and you won’t change my mind on that either. So, we’re all guilty of our little prejudices.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m ALL FOR donating time and resources to helping other people in the industry further their technical knowledge. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be putting up free tips and videos on 3 different websites. What “Women in Lighting” is trying do is great and I applaud them for their effort. I really do, and it’s great that Jim is getting the word out about what they’re doing. Everyone needs help getting started in the industry — but NOT JUST WOMEN. When I was 21 and just starting out in lighting, I thought that I wasn’t getting hired because I was a girl. Turns out that wasn’t the case: I wasn’t getting hired cause I didn’t know a d@mn thing. I blamed my failures on my sex, and it wasn’t until I got off my butt and starting devouring any/all information I could get that I started getting smarter, and started getting jobs.

    While I’m supper happy to help out my fellow females in the industry, I’m never going to give someone credit (or the benefit of the doubt) just because they’re female. I’ve worked with some kick-ass females… and some really dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks girls (I submit to you the female who showed up to operate a console with those 3 inch press-on nails on her fingers — she physically couldn’t turn the encoder wheels….), but guess what: the percentage of Useful to Useless females I’ve met is the same as the percentage of Useful to Useless males.

    Someday, us “females in the industry” will eventually get what we need: less talk of “Females in the Industry.”

    • “Someday, us “females in the industry” will eventually get what we need: less talk of “Females in the Industry.””

      hear hear!

    • Dear Kat, thanks for your feedback.

      Whilst I really do appreciate every point you make, there seems to be a misunderstanding here. Women in Lighting is not about positive discrimination or about moaning that women get a rough deal, it’s about positively encouraging women to come into the industry in the first place and about offering support – if and when they need it – as they progress through their careers.

      I am sure you can understand that depending on where you work and what sector, there are times when it can be quite intimidating as you progress up the career ladder.

      WIL is also about making sure the industry does not loose long invested in skills because of a bad experience that could have been resolved by mediation or the advocacy of someone who understands. It’s about not loosing those skills for good when women decide to take some time out to set up families etc and then find there is little or no access back into the industry by offering retraining in new technology etc. It’s about identifying common problems and finding solutions between ourselves that we can share across the industry rather than perhaps one woman battling away in a venue or on a tour on her own. If you are in the minority and you have a problem it is not always so easy to get it resolved.

      There is also one other very important thing to remember. This is not just about the more forward thinking or privileged amongst us but also about other countries where gender equality is not high on the agenda. I’ve had emails from women in Eastern Europe and some Asian countries, all of whom are delighted that they have women they can communicate with across the world. It would be great if we could offer them funded internships or training opportunities don’t you think. Its about social, economic and sexual equity – these are issues that are far from resolved.

      Closer to home there are still situations, especially in the freelance market, where women are paid less than men for the same work and where trying to get transparency can be complex. Its not just about you and your own individual experience, maybe you have been lucky, but that is not the case for all of us.

      it has a much wider scope than that. Might i also point out that there are many men, at all levels of the industry, that see the need for what we are doing and support us. We spend our lives working with men and have great relationships across the industry. This is not a petty, small minded attempt to encourage positive discrimination. We are not calling attention to women as a special needs group and I don’t think there are many people who think that we are.

      To be honest the proof is in the pudding – if there was no need for it then one has to ask: How come so many well known professional females in this industry are joining up.? The answer is that they are joining up to share their own skills, knowledge and contacts, to ensure the industry constantly improves, that it is accessible to all at all times of life and that everyone has equal opportunities to be the very best that they can be in their chosen career.

      In your case perhaps you might offer a woman from another country or a less privileged environment an internship or some training, not just because they are a woman but because they are good and they are a woman and they might just benefit from your generosity and support?

    • Dear Kat, thanks for your feedback.

      Whilst I really do appreciate every point you make, there seems to be a misunderstanding here. Women in Lighting is not about positive discrimination or about moaning that women get a rough deal, it’s about positively encouraging women to come into the industry in the first place and about offering support — if and when they need it — as they progress through their careers.

      I am sure you can understand that depending on where you work and what sector, there are times when it can be quite intimidating as you progress up the career ladder.

      WIL is also about making sure the industry does not loose long invested in skills because of a bad experience that could have been resolved by mediation or the advocacy of someone who understands. It’s about not loosing those skills for good when women decide to take some time out to set up families etc and then find there is little or no access back into the industry by offering retraining in new technology etc. It’s about identifying common problems and finding solutions between ourselves that we can share across the industry rather than perhaps one woman battling away in a venue or on a tour on her own. If you are in the minority and you have a problem it is not always so easy to get it resolved.

      There is also one other very important thing to remember. This is not just about the more forward thinking or privileged amongst us but also about other countries where gender equality is not high on the agenda. I’ve had emails from women in Eastern Europe and some Asian countries, all of whom are delighted that they have women they can communicate with across the world. It would be great if we could offer them funded internships or training opportunities don’t you think. Its about social, economic and sexual equity — these are issues that are far from resolved.

      Closer to home there are still situations, especially in the freelance market, where women are paid less than men for the same work and where trying to get transparency can be complex. Its not just about you and your own individual experience, maybe you have been lucky, but that is not the case for all of us.

      it has a much wider scope than that. Might i also point out that there are many men, at all levels of the industry, that see the need for what we are doing and support us. We spend our lives working with men and have great relationships across the industry. This is not a petty, small minded attempt to encourage positive discrimination. We are not calling attention to women as a special needs group and I don’t think there are many people who think that we are.

      To be honest the proof is in the pudding — if there was no need for it then one has to ask: How come so many well known professional females in this industry are joining up.? The answer is that they are joining up to share their own skills, knowledge and contacts, to ensure the industry constantly improves, that it is accessible to all at all times of life and that everyone has equal opportunities to be the very best that they can be in their chosen career.

      In your case perhaps you might offer a woman from another country or a less privileged environment an internship or some training, not just because they are a woman but because they are good and they are a woman and they might just benefit from your generosity and support?

      • Sarah-
        In your last paragraph, if you were to change every usage of the word “woman” to “person”, then (and only then) I would say yes.

        Good luck with your endeavor – as I stated in my post, “What “Women in Lighting” is trying do is great and I applaud them for their effort. I really do, and it’s great that Jim is getting the word out about what they’re doing.”

        Also, you’ve misspelled my name, but I’ll try not to take that as an indication that you really didn’t read my post carefully.

        Sincerely,
        Cat

        • Thanks for your reply Cat,

          Apologies for misspelling your name, it was a genuine mistake. My middle name is Katherine (spelt with a K) and I was called Kat for many years so I am afraid it is simply force of habit, nothing personal. Anyway thanks for your wishes of good luck, I think we are all coming from the same place at the end of the day. Maybe one day we will meet and we can discuss it properly over a few beers?

          If you haven’t already, take a look at the website, let us know what you think and maybe join us? We’re not perfect but we are always open to suggestions and we welcome all views.

          All the best for now

          Sarah

  2. Hello Jim, Thanks so much for this positive response to our site, we really do appreciate it.

    Since launching Women in Lighting (WIL) properly in October / November we have grown our membership from the women Paule Constable and I already knew in the UK to embrace women from countries all around the world including: USA, Canada, Dubai, Israel, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and many more.

    We’ve been delighted with the response and Paule is taking her first intern on for a new production at the Royal Court – Posh – at the end of March.

    We also have Coral Cooper and others promising free training and we have a regularly updated news site where we promote what women are doing across the industry.

    At the moment we’re in the process of setting up a steering committee and we welcome volunteers or suggestions on what women would like to see from WIL.

    We are also looking for funding and sponsorship so we can improve the website and expand on the services etc we offer. Early days but the support we have had from all over the industry has been awesome. we would like to thank our very early corporate supporters, White Light, Northern Light, ETC, Rosco and PRG, without which we could not have got this off the ground. We also look forward to welcoming future sponsors so we can grow the site and the range of services we can offer.

    Love the picture by the way – can we use it?

    Any women interested in WIL or wanting to join – you are very welcome. Just go to page http://www.womeninlighting.com/?page_id=34

    All the best

    Sarah x

  3. Re Take That – Y Chromozone. I find that story quite disturbing. Ok, so women want equality, so how would we all feel if that story turned around and so was about a male being insulted by a female so he smacked the ——– (choose your own derogatory word) as hard as he could and rightfully so.

    How are women in lighting going to get any respect from anyone, male or female when stories like this are championed.

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