International Women’s Day — Handbags and Childcare vs 4K Codecs

By in Video Editing

Claire Humphries – Delivery Manager EMEA and Consulting and Training Manager, EMEA

Each year International Women’s Day rolls around and 10 years into my Avid career I still find myself (usually) the only female in a meeting with my male colleagues and customers, trying to optimise the delivery of a project.  Not a whisper of ‘nice handbag’ or ‘oooh new hair-do!’ passes their lips.  This is my professional world and I quite like it that way.  Mostly.   If you prefer the topic of the latest fash-mags to the best codec for 4K proxy you are firmly in the wrong profession darling.

What strikes me this year on IWD 2018 is the normality; I see women in Broadcast all around me in senior editorial, creative and technical positions.  Leadership positions.  Executive Leadership positions.  There are many, many bright intelligent women working in Avid and throughout the worldwide Broadcast and Technology Vendor industry.  In my team alone the balance of gender is pretty equal.  This makes me happy; especially now I discover that by marriage I am related to the original Pankhurst family in this the Centenary of the Vote for Women.

As I hold yet another conference call on the 0730 school run before heading to work, I realise that for me the meaning of IWD is not so much our female presence in the workplace but more a loud, drum-banging, window-rattling celebration of our achievement.   I am no longer asked about being a Woman in Broadcast Tech; I am more often asked “How do you do it with two young daughters?”.   I hear this question at least once a week.  To me it’s not how I do it but why I do it. International Women’s Day is a celebration of all our achievements – of Emmeline, Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst.  Of mothers who work, of child-free Career women by choice, of women who choose to stay at home to enable their partners to work.  Of those suffragettes who got us here.   A celebration of the support that we receive from our colleagues and customers.   I also hope that for me, I can be an example to my daughters that it’s okay to have a full time job.  It’s okay to be a Mummy and travel overseas for work.  Most importantly that it’s okay to work in a historically male environment.  Things change.  We can do this and be readily accepted in all manner of cultures and beliefs.

To this end I asked a few of my aforementioned bright, intelligent, female colleagues to give me a few lines on their typical working day and how they feel about being a ‘Woman in Broadcast’ working with Avid…

Barbara Levak Tonejc – Associate Consultant and Trainer, EMEA

I have been working with Avid’s customers all over the world for almost 12 years and the last few I have been spending most of my Avid time in the Middle East. I have always been welcomed with respect and kindness, working with men or women of our great broadcast industry.

This week I was sitting in a very spacious white office not far from the busy newsroom. I was sharing giggles about motherhood, lack of sleep, time management, multitasking and the impossible quest for a moment of peace. Then conversation turned to newsroom staff training plans, configuring new programmes in iNEWS, additional guidelines for Media Managers, planning the Media Director training and back to the need for a “girls only” vacation. I was in the office of one of the brightest managers I have worked with, a young Emirati woman, who is steering her teams towards success with grace, a smile, but also with firm leadership.

The meeting might have been a lot different had she been a man, but the result was there – we achieved the goals that were set for this week, we made plans for the upcoming training and our project is on track. With a smile.

Just like we are changing the world, women are changing our business too, one step, one giggle, one conversation at the time.

Janet GoverAssociate Consultant and Trainer, EMEA

When I first started out in broadcast news in 19… ( coughs quickly), I was one of the first female on-the-road television reporters in Australia. We were using film, and a live cross was something that required an OB truck and a couple of good techs. My newsroom claimed a lot of Australian firsts – first live report from a helicopter, from a boat, across state lines. All these things are now commonplace, but back then it was all very different. I was so excited by how developing technologies could help me do my job as a reporter and producer, and my desire to know more led me to Avid.

I remember doing an Avid install at a major international sporting event nearly twenty years ago – and I was the only woman in the building, apart from the barista at the coffee shop. Men still hold the majority of senior technical positions in the broadcast world – but it’s a long time since I was the only woman at the table. Now I work with women on almost every site.

At the end of a working day, back at my hotel, I move from a technical and still mostly male world to a more creative and female dominated world – I write women’s fiction (www.janetgover.com). I often wonder if the juxtaposition of my two jobs helps me in both.

Sonia MiliAssociate Consultant and Trainer, EMEA

Being a woman in the world of broadcast tech is quite challenging; always haunting to have less credibility in what was historically a man’s domain. I remembered delivering one of my early trainings on Media Composer in Paris with video editors coming specially from the Middle East with an average age of 55 years old and more than 30 years’ experience on editing – and me only 22 years old – I was nervous at the idea to be in front of these Men.  Will they accept to receive a course from a young woman?  At that period, I didn’t know the mentality of this culture; I thought it should be the same as more oppressive regimes and the region in general. That day I realized that being a man or a woman did not matter, something inside of me just clicked and finally being a woman has a lot of benefits….

Julia Schindel — Associate Consultant and Trainer, EMEA

‘A day in the life of…’

Last time I wrote on this theme I was 17. Reporting for our student paper. German journalist and novelist Walter Jens had visited our school. I adored literature, writing: making things. And: I was a child of the 80s – unemployment was high. Unrelated to this, personally I had only met two women who were not stay-at-home mums.  In consequence, the only subject I was willing to consider studying, had to have a job at the end of it.

Fast forward.

This week I’m in Gizeh. A lot of sand here. I’m teaching a bunch of (Egyptian, male) engineers how to administer their new TV database and archive. When I chose my career, I refused to give a thought to gender. I wanted to be part of something I was passionate about, something that would ensure constant learning and keep me up to date with technology- as well as having a strong human implication: the broadcast industry.  Next week I go to Hong Kong to look at some broadcast workflows and do some more training.