Rising to the Challenge of Gender Diversity and Balance in the M&E Industry 

By: VITAC
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A lack of gender diversity and gender balance in the field of broadcasting and media technology remains an ongoing challenge, but it is one that Rise – a global advocacy group – is working to overcome. 

Rise, which supports gender diversity across the broadcast, media and entertainment, and technology industries was launched in 2017. Its goal is to achieve a diverse and balanced workforce by providing, among other things, strong mentorship programs, education workshops, and training sessions. 

Take 1, which works alongside VITAC in providing access and accessibility services for the media and entertainment industries, has been supporting Rise and its programs since 2020.  

“I think the conversation around diversity has changed enormously in the past five years,” Carrie Wootten, Managing Director of Rise, said at this September’s IBC Show 2022. “Our industry and wider society recognize and understand the importance of diversity more broadly. The conversation is easier to have – companies recognize and understand it and want to support diversity. But there are still barriers and challenges.” 

Inside the Numbers 

Studies also have shown that more diverse leadership teams lead to better financial performance by attracting top talent, increasing employee satisfaction and decision making, and driving diversity of thought. Gender is an important component of diversity and plays a critical role in delivering business performance.  

A 2019 study by McKinsey & Company showed that companies with gender diversity in the top quartile were 25% more likely to experience above average profitability than peer companies in the fourth quartile. This is an increase from the 15% reported in 2014. 

However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the percentage of women in broadcast and sound engineering technician roles in the U.S. stood at 9% of the total workforce in 2015, representing a decrease from 12% in 2004. Additionally, a Women in Tech survey showed only 19% of the technology workforce in the UK are women, with 77% of technology director roles held by men. 

And a 2020 Broadcast and Media survey by Rise and the International Trade Association for Broadcast & Media Technology found that men are more likely to occupy ‘C’ level positions and that females earn $80-85K on average compared to males with $100-135K, respectively. 

Rising to the Challenge 

Rise promotes opportunities for women by: 

  • Providing annual mentoring programs in North America, the UK, Europe, and around the world. 
  • Celebrating the skills and achievements of women across the industry through its annual Rise Awards. 
  • Providing free membership (to all genders) with access to regular networking events, seminars, workshops, and conferences. 
  • Inspiring, educating, and informing the next generation through its “Rise Up Academy.” 

Its newest initiative, the “Strive to Rise” program, recognizes a company’s commitment to gender diversity and celebrates good practices within organizations across the media technology sector. Companies taking part in “Strive to Rise” receive a score based on a short self-assessment to help them understand and benchmark an organization’s current level of commitment to gender diversity and/or ways to improve. 

Take 1 has been actively involved in supporting Rise and Strive to Rise initiatives. Chief Operating Officer Stephen Stewart was a Rise mentor in 2020, contributed to a Rise Up Academy session in 2021, and will volunteer at another Rise event this February. Take 1’s Head of Product Josh Martin and Business Analyst David Rodgers also have been volunteering at Rise Academy workshops.  

Additionally, employees across the company took part in Strive mentorship programs – both as mentors and mentees. The free, six-month program offers monthly meetings, one-on-one contact with an industry mentor, and regular training sessions, from career mapping to creating personal brands to boosting resilience and assertiveness. 

Rise’s “Women in Leadership Survey and Report 2021” found that the majority of women taking part in the survey (57%) said that they never had a mentor, while 63% of respondents reported never having a mentor or never having a seat at the board level. The survey also showed that mentees are promoted five times more often than those without mentors, demonstrating the value of mentoring in the workplace. 

“Do Good, Win Together” 

As part of the greater Verbit company’s “Do Good, Win Together” philosophy, we strive to be committed to the communities and industries we serve. Our teams are dedicated to making the world a more accessible and inclusive place for all, while empowering each other for success. 

To that end, working with Rise has been a great way for staff to gain valuable experience in presenting and coaching, and providing us with the opportunity to re-examine our continuing commitment to gender diversity, equality, and inclusion and helping celebrate, champion, and promote women. 

We put people first across the Verbit company, and we’re committed to hiring and supporting the growth of our diverse team. We strive to create an inclusive, diverse workplace where every person can bring the authentic version of themselves to work and feel comfortable each day. 

Interested in joining our team and working to make the world a more inclusive place? Click here for more information.