The industry pay gap was the key topic at Wonder Women Live, an annual women’s networking event which champions diverse women who work in television and the creative industries, reports Sheryl Hickey.
The Wonder Women Live event convened on International Women’s Day, heard that despite women making up 51% of the industry, there’s clear evidence that there are gender, ethnicity, disability, and class pay gaps.
Industry trailblazers from BBC Studios, The Garden, Nevision and broadcaster and journalist Lorraine Kelly delivered an empowering and motivating panel discussion which explored topics around confidence and career progression. The talk was followed by a structured power-networking session with the panellists to support attendees making new connections in the industry.
Reflecting on female representation in craft and technical roles, Nevision CEO & award-winning Executive Producer, Anne Morrison commented: “Inequalities remain and I have to say, back in the 1980s, I thought we’d be further ahead some 40 years later - but women’s pay still lags behind men’s and in the top 250 grossing films last year, women made up only 19% of screenwriters, 18% of directors and 7% of cinematographers.”
On the subject of race and class, Wonder Women TV Founder & TV Presenter, Ria Hebden added: “If you’re a woman of colour and from a working-class background you have multiple disadvantages to overcome and you’ll likely be paid less too. That’s just the stark truth of it. This is why I created the Wonder Women TV network as a way of elevating diverse women that work in Television and the Creative Industries, who can be marginalised. Together, we are making a difference.”
‘Double whammy’ to women’s tech careers
Also timed to mark International Women’s Day, a survey of the international tech community by London Tech Week identified that women’s tech careers suffered due to a ‘double whammy’ of the cost-of-living crisis and COVID.
In the 2023 survey more than half (52%) of respondents believed women missed out on work opportunities, were forced to scale down work and take time off to care for children during the pandemic and economically challenging times.
The data also reported that women want more equal pay and better flexible working opportunities, and revealed further data that:
- 32% of those in the tech sector say they haven’t received a promotion in over 24 months
- 66% of tech workers revealed mental health issues affected their career
- 68% see a skills shortage as a key barrier to entry.
Tessa Clarke, London Tech Week ambassador and founder of Olio said of the survey’s results: “If there’s one industry that should be leading in terms of gender parity, it’s the tech industry. That’s because the tech industry has the tools to enable flexible and autonomous working, it has the dynamism and relative youth to make change more easily, and it naturally attracts the visionaries and disruptors who don’t tend to be happy with the status quo. It’s therefore incredibly disappointing to see this data which shows that the industry has not yet seized the gender parity opportunity. I very much hope that this International Women’s Day the tech industry will resolve to make proper strides in gender parity, so we won’t be lamenting the same lack of progress next year.”
Looking ahead to future solutions
The survey also gathered popular opinions on what can be done to address these issues and diversify the industry. From of the 600 women who took part, it was clear that women would like to see better visibility and promotion of STEM career opportunities for women to help more women break into and thrive in the tech industry. This would help achieve more gender equity with their male counterparts in the sector (39% of respondents revealed) as well as more equal pay between genders (38%) and better flexible work opportunities (37%).
Respondents also believed HealthTech solutions technologies would have the biggest impact on women’s lives and gender equality over the next ten years.
For more information on Wonder Women TV, the inspirational podcast and yearlong Nationwide Mentoring Programme that directly supports 40 diverse women who work in Television visit www.wonderwomentv.com.