Women in Audio and Media: AIM Stands Out

Last summer I was struck by a story that appeared in the Huffington Post (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-arent-there-more-women-working-...) that addressed the dearth of women in audio. According to some sources, only 5 percent of the people creating sound and media for our consumption are women. According to AIM’s own Jackie Steven, “Sadly, that number hasn’t changed much in my 30 years in the field.”

As a newbie to audio, and one who has come up at AIM and WERA, this was news to me. My first teachers here were women, and the training and daily operations of the studios and broadcast booth would be almost unimaginable without the expertise of the likes of Jackie, Lauree McArdle, and expert trainer Kathi Overton. I continue to be grateful for the role models around me.

Just getting girls and women through the doors may be half the battle. Lauree credits organizations such as Women’s Audio Mission (womensaudiomission.org) in San Francisco with offering a path for girls and women to get involved.

“My interest in audio started with my love of music,” says Lauree. “I've never known a moment in my life without music. Growing up, if a cassette was ‘eaten’ by a tape deck, I would take it apart and ‘splice’ it together with scotch tape! Of course, I could only do this with cassettes that were held together with small screws! It was my love of music that pushed me to join my college radio station, where I learned to edit on reel to reel, hosted a radio show, and was eventually the station manager until graduation. It was a rewarding experience providing lessons I still utilize today.”

Jackie applauds the local resources that help attract and support more women in the field. Women in Film and Video of Washington, DC (www.wifv.org) is dedicated to advancing the career development and achievement for professionals working in all areas of screen-based media and related disciplines. And there’s the self-explanatory Women Photojournalists of DC (www.womenphotojournalists.org). Television, Internet, and Video Association of DC (www.tivadc.org) is another great local resource that connects the media production community to jobs, resources, and educational opportunities in the national capital region.

And who can resist Jackie’s plea for more women in media: “Because I’m lonely!”

--Lynn Borton