Although the events industry is female dominated, the AV sector remains largely a male domain. With the launch of Women in AV Australia, ASE chats to three women working in AV, including the founder of the movement, Toni McAllister from AV1, about the gender imbalance in the industry, what to do about it and what it’s like to work in one of the “hidden” aspects of the events industry.
“I’m a big believer in ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and I do believe that given that there is such a lack of females working in the AV industry, that young girls and women aren’t encouraged to join the industry because they’re not seeing other women in the industry,” says Toni who is AV1’s Customer Experience Manager.
“Once there is an industry created that is so male dominated, it can be hard for women to enter – it might not feel like an inclusive environment.”
“You have to have role models, in any industry” agrees Jenny Verus, Audio Visual Project Manager at ICC Sydney, “it’s like any other male dominated industry – if you can’t see women or if you haven’t been exposed to women in that industry, it’s not something you then think you can be a part of.”
It’s just the evolution of the industry and the unconscious biases around men being in AV,” says Libbie Ray, General Manager and co-owner of AV 24/7.
“Also, it’s kind of a hidden industry for people outside of it regardless, so without being marketed specifically to women they’re not going to grow up and go ‘I want to work in AV’ because they see it all the time and they want to transition into that.”
“It needs to be marketed better, it needs to be communicated and we all need to get past our unconscious biases around that,” adds Libbie.
“I think it’s needed someone to champion [the gender imbalance] and get some of the businesses behind it to expose it,” says Jenny of the Women in AV initiative. Six companies have already thrown their support behind the movement, including, of course, AV1, ICC Sydney and AV 24/7 along with Scene Change, Staging Connections and AVPartners.
“It’s such an exciting, creative energetic industry – there’s no doubt that this is a place for women to be,” says Libbie. “We just need to talk about it more.”
Watch their full interview below as the three women go more in-depth on addressing the gender disparity and their experiences of working in a male dominated industry.