Sunday, September 7, 2014

Are Women to Blame for the Way They're Perceived in a Male-Dominated Industry?

So my husband works in the IT industry and I work in the television/video industry.

Both of these industries suffer a similar problem: inequality of numbers of women employed in the industry.  IT has a worse situation in this regard.

In both cases, if you go to conferences, companies are pandering to this inequality by employing "booth babes" to draw in customers. 

Although the IT industry industry claims to WANT more women employed...I have to WHAT? 

At a recent conference that my husband attended, he told me about an event where companies had 3 minutes to sell themselves and grab attention.  Some of these companies only heard the"grab attention" part.  One company put a belly dancer on stage.  Another company dressed the female marketing staff up in sexy schoolgirl outfits.  My question to these women- why do you agree to this?  Buying into the idea that women's place in the industry is to get men to take notice of the company they represent- well, you might as just well accept the idea that the company is your pimp, and they are prostituting you out at conferences.

At the last video conference I attended, I experimented with how long/whether I would be talked to.  The majority of the time, I was not approached--even though my badge indicated that I was a production company owner...meaning I may have buying ability.  I DID feel slighted.  When my male friend accompanied me at booths, he was approached.  Even though he has no need to buy equipment at all- he is in film distribution.

I like to tell myself that sexism in 2014 is in people's imaginations.  But it IS real.  For all of the women in ANY industry, the use of "booth babes", and the related practices or "marketing initiatives", sends a message:  that women remain outsiders.  Even InfoComm president, David Labuskes, agrees, saying that the practice "creates an environment that is unwelcome for some (and) that perpetuates 'old school thinking'."

Women need to stand up for themselves- and their industry- and discourage these practices.  They need to do better PR for themselves.  Publicize their accomplishments to raise their standings.  And we all need to work harder to not whine about inequality - but to prove that women are deserving and fully capable of doing the same kind of work, at the same level (or better!) than our male counterparts in our industry.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Meaning of Life

Sorry, this post is going to take a different turn today.

In the past month, three sets of parents in my family and friends have had to say goodbye to their children, in an unexpected way.  I went to funeral #2 today, just one week after funeral #1.  Funeral #3 is yet to be scheduled.

I decided to do a blog post, simply because the mom from the funeral today posted her eulogy on the blog she had been maintaining about her special needs son for the past several years.  And what's one of the things you're supposed to do in a blog?  Link to other people's blogs.  So here's hers:

Just short of ten years old, her son passed away last Saturday.

Her eulogy (and her husband's) today was moving.  It is a message for parents of special needs children.  It is a message for parents of all children.  It is a message of hope, determination, acceptance, grief, and above all else, love.

Please read her eulogy, and share it, if it moves you.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow Days are GREAT days for Entrepreneurs!

I started early as an entrepreneur.  When I was young, and realized I was great at organizing places, I offered myself up as someone who could come in and organize your closets, etc.  I didn't get any takers, but I had distributed flyers throughout my neighborhood.  When I got old enough to babysit, I used this same tactic to market myself to young parents in the neighborhood.  At one point, I had 16 families I babysat for.  I posted the parents' names, the kids' names and ages, and their addresses and phone number on our fridge so I could keep track of them all when they called. 

Today, while looking at the window at all the cars that still needed to be dug out, or cleaned off, it occurred to me that a young person could make a lot of money going door to door and offering to clean off cars at $2.50 per car, and to shovel their car space out for $5.00 per space.  Kids like to be outside on snow days.  Parents like their kids to be outside on snow days.  Kids also like to make money.  So get your kid out there with a shovel and a scraper!

And how about you?  Do you find you're at home because your client's office is closed today?  Do you have work booked for the rest of the month?  This is the time to pick up work and fill your schedule up by reaching out to past clients to see if they need any help in the next few weeks, or need their project updated.  Plan happy hours or interviews with people to see if your services are still in line with the area's needs, or just to network and remind them that you're a great person to work with and you're available.