As a kid, I have always considered March, the 8th as a rather normal, unnecessary recurrence: shielded behind my innocence and ignorance I could not understand gender inequality. Growing up as a woman, I was always more forced to face this awkward reality, until it became glaring as soon as I decided to study music production in a multiculturalist British university; I was one out of four girls in the first year.
I was shocked.
I discovered soon that women only represent around 2% of producers in the world, which is a number way lower than what I would have ever imagined.
What’s the reason beyond this gender imbalance, I have always wondered?
I understand that I am nobody to talk about such an important topic, I am too young and I have not enough experience to explore all the shadows of this subject, therefore I think it would be more appropriate to interview someone I consider a mentor and an example for my career: London based live sound engineer Olive Olin. I hope her answers to these few questions could inspire you to do your best in our field, as it happened to me when I first met her at a diversity masterclass.
Happy women's day everyone, this is my present for you (:
Why do you think that fields such as music production or sound engineering are 'dominated' by men?
It all starts from a very young age in the ways that we teach children. I believe that young girls used to be steered in a particular direction, often away from exploring anything ‘technical’. When it comes to music production & sound engineering, you need to be an explorer and have the confidence to seek out the technical aspects of the recording and production process. I believe that is why the music production & sound engineering field is dominated by men, they are more encouraged to be ‘technical minded’. It is slowly changing though!
Have you ever experienced any discrimination depending on your gender?
Unfortunately, I have experienced discrimination due to my gender. Over the years it is happening less, and at times I have felt disheartened by it. But now I’m trying not to let it get to me. I am good at what I do, so there is no reason to involve my gender!
What do you think would be a good idea to increase women's inclusion in the industry?
I believe young girls need to be taught technical confidence, it is not as complicated as people make it out to be. If we encourage young girls and women to explore the technical aspects of the music industry, we will see an increase in women who want to work in the scene. You can’t be what you can’t see; we need to make the women working in the industry visible to other women too!
What's your favorite album produced by a woman and why?
Tough one! I’m gonna say TOKiMONSTA, she is one of my favourite producers for sure but I’m not sure I can pick an album over any other! But the first song I ever heard produced by her was ‘Go with it’ feat MNDR, the production is great and it’s still a favourite of mine! I really enjoy her production style and she has a very distinct sound. And of course, anything Sylvia Massy has put her hands and mind on!
What would you like to say to other women music producers that are struggling in our field?
Hold your head up high, create your own support network with people who can cheer you on. You can be the ripest peach in the world, and there are still people who don't like peaches. Don’t care about what people might say. And pay things forward, pave the way for the younger generation, they need someone to look up to!
If you would like to have a say in this discussion, please fill out our survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZKTMHF7 and catch us on the 13th of March at 6pm to have a chat with us on twitch.tv/theriproject !