The snow fell fiercely on the frigid winter night. I was partially nervous about the turnout for the first Inspiring Women in Music Technology mixer event that I helped organize at Dubspot, a New York based music production and dj school where I work. A few months prior, a female student approached our student affairs coordinator and expressed that she felt alone in her classes. A student in an introductory music production class, she found that she was the only girl. She did not have the best rapport with the guys in her cohort, and she found that she was often making music in isolation. She wanted to know if there were other women who were making beats. She wanted a space where she could belong. Her concerns inspired my colleagues and me to create the Inspiring Women initiative.
On January 23rd, it seemed that this student’s longing was shared by a number of other women all around New York City. As a snow storm raged outside, women trickled in from various locations and backgrounds to unite in our cramped downtown meeting location to support the efforts of women in music technology. Nearly sixty women attempted to pile into quarters meant for twenty-five people; we eventually had to designate an overflow space. Running out of chairs, we apologetically reported to some that they would have to stand for the duration of our two-hour event. They weren’t the least affected by the news. They wanted the experience of being present and the community it afforded them.
Our panel of guests included an assortment of established women technologists: DJ Reborn, Jeannie Hopper, Michele Darling and Satya Hinduja. Each woman in attendance listened intently to the stories of these women as they discussed how they discovered the technical side of music creation. They talked about their careers, goals for the future, and of course, their gear. Yes, the technological dialogue was a highlight of the evening.
My suspicions had been confirmed: women yearned to connect with one another around the topic of music technology. I felt honored to take part in this evening. The success of this event further validated the work of Gender Amplified and similar initiatives. During the panel discussion, women asked questions like “How do I pursue a production career as a single mom?” and “How do I negotiate the issue of feeling physically unsafe in recording studios?” These were concerns that only women would have. I realized that gender adds an extra dimension to how women producers approach their careers and the decisions that shape them.
After the event, some of the women lingered around our facilities for another two hours. They didn’t want the evening to end. Neither did I. The event ended, but the movement continues on…