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Are women in the film industry equal to men?

We asked women in the film industry for their opinion.

What’s it like for women in the film industry?

With Cheqroom, we visit trade shows regularly. As a female reporter and a camera woman, we tend to draw attention to us pretty easily. We’ve had reactions like “Wow, two women!” or “So cool to see two women doing this!”.

And it’s true, trade shows for filmmakers are not the place where women have to wait in line for the bathroom.

Why is that?
How has gender bias evolved over the past few years?
And what can we do differently?

We needed to know.

So where are all my ladies at?

After skimming the show floor and filtering out the women that literally duck when they see a camera, men with long hair, and booth babes, we found a couple of women who were excited to share their experiences with us.

If you’re more of a visual-kinda person, watch this video:

For team ‘old school’, enjoy the blog post below! 👇

“Look around. Do you see the difference?”

When Sound & Theatre Technician, Shaughna Boara, first came to the NAB Show with her mother about 10 years ago, her mother said “Look around, do you see the difference? The only women besides us 2 are ‘booth babes’.”

Several women shared the opinion that even though there are some noticeable improvements happening, you still see the disparity. “It’s a variety of collaborating with incredible people one day and not feeling like you belong the next,” says Jenny Alice of Jenny Alice Films.

Canon Booth2

Where’s the sound guy? - It’s me!

Another shared opinion is that women are often questioned by other people, wondering if they are able to handle the gear the same way a man would. They have to prove themselves a lot more and need to grow “incredibly thick skin” because many people will tell you why you shouldn't be doing that job.

Sound & Theatre Technician, Shaughna Boara, works a lot with older musicians, and especially when she’s occupying monitors, the other people in the room question her ability to do the job, until they HEAR that she can do it perfectly fine.

Luckily she has a very supportive team surrounding her. So, when people come into the studio, they go “Where’s the sound guy?” and then the team finds it amusing to be able to say that it’s me. The look on some people’s faces, it’s quite something.

"Is it really worth the hassle?” is a mental battle I often have with myself.
Jenny Alice Films

Female-friendly film gear

We also wanted to make sure to get the opinion of someone who has been in the film industry for a long time. So who better to ask than THE DANA of Dana Dolly? (Yes, her husband named the famous Dana Dolly after her! 😧)

Dana has seen the film industry evolving. Back in the day, 30-somewhat years ago, Dana Dolly used to do rentals. Ever since, the equipment has gotten lighter, smaller, and a little bit more manageable for everyone. So luckily, “We see more and more women coming into the film industry. In lighting, directing, camera work, … in all kinds of positions.

Dana Dolly2

Creativity and negativity don't mix well together

Jenny Alice of Jenny Alice Films often wonders if it’s all really worth the hassle. “Sometimes people will try to trip you up, on purpose, just to prove a point…”. But when filmmaking is your passion, the only thing you can do is find a way that works best for you so that you can focus on what matters the most. Jenny Alice’s tip is to surround yourself with the right people that lift you up and not allow the negativity to come in. “Don’t let others affect your creativity.”

Jenny Alice2

Another female videographer we talked to claims that even though it’s “obviously a male-dominated industry, I love working with cameras, and I’m grateful to be doing what I love.” Her tip for other females in the industry is to focus on building your portfolio and experience, and if you “work really hard, you can definitely make something of yourself.”

Frame IO2

Someone on the team had a different take on it. Even though she notices some disbalance, she tries not to look at it in terms of gender. She loves being in the industry and tries not the focus on the disbalance too much. “I, of course, feel very fortunate to be surrounded by a team full of women at work, which definitely helps.”

Andrea Dondanville of the LA-based creative agency ‘Origin Point’ shared one last tip for all women out there: “Don’t be afraid to speak up, support each other, and work together. They say that a rising tide floats all boats, so let’s all rise up together!”

Andrea Origin Point

Is the film industry still male-dominated?

The general consensus is: even though we still see a clear disbalance, the film industry is (slowly) changing for the better. It seems like women are feeling more confident about their abilities and are taking their spot in this space. Women understand that sometimes it means having to prove themselves more than others in order to continue doing what they're passionate about.

The women we talked to stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. However, you can’t always control who you’re working with. In that case: Focus on working hard, getting as much experience as possible, and building out your portfolio.

A big shoutout to all the wonderful women who helped us put together this video and blog post!

Want some more female power in your life? Our team selected the best tips for you!

Here are our favorite films directed by women, Instagram accounts for women in film, our favorite podcasts by & for women, and our favorite female authors. 👸🏻

Do you want to see more NAB content? Check out our YouTube channel where we report on all new and innovative gear.

Elke 4
Written by Elke Swinnen Aug 01, 2023

Elke Swinnen is Cheqroom’s video reporter and event queen. Most of the time, you’ll find her out in the world visiting Cheqroom customers and shows like NAB and IBC. She is passionate about sharing the latest gear updates, film industry insights, and top gear management tips and tricks. Her favorite pieces of gear are the ARRI ALEXA 35 and Aputure MC Pro. She’s also a Content and Social Media Marketer at Cheqroom.