Working for gender equity in audio

I have worked in music technology education since 1998, teaching undergraduates until 2015 when I became just too frustrated with the lack of gender diversity in tertiary level audio education to continue ignoring it. Like many others I took action, initiating the Yorkshire Sound Women Network C.I.C. with a tweet inviting women to gather and discuss how we can create all-women spaces*. The organisation is managed by our development manager Heidi Johnson with the administration of Abi Bliss, and a large portfolio of projects are run by a team recruited from our pool of paid associates. Projects sit under three key areas: education for young people, community and knowledge sharing, industry facing work.

The creation of YSWN raised many questions, leading us into extensive discussions about the title, mission, who we serve, and very fundamentally how we would organise. These conversations led me to look at other organisations, and I started to create a list of organisations set up specifically to support women and gender minority people in audio, which was subsequently featured in in Leslie Gaston-Bird’s book Women in Audio.

While supporting YSWN C.I.C. as a co-director I have delivered many talks and round tables, however representing this issue at one particular conference I was asked ‘what can men do though?’. In order to reach a wider audience, in collaboration with a number of partners I wrote the #audioequitypledge which is now hosted on the Yorkshire Sound Women Network C.I.C. and SoundGirls.org websites. It is also featured in Clare Hibbard’s chapter Addressing the Gender Imbalance in the Theater Sound Industry A Conservatoire Approach, in Audio Education : Theory, Culture, and Practice, edited by Daniel Walzer, and Mariana Lopez,

*I have since come to understand how this affects the trans community, and feel proud that YSWN continues to strive to be a trans and gender minority inclusive organisation.

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