Female and non-binary music tech manufacturers on trade shows: “People still don’t think I’m the one doing the work”

MusicTech sits down with three female and non-binary-led manufacturers to discuss the inequality of trade shows.

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Female and non-binary manufacturers in the music tech space have discussed the difficulties they’ve faced at trade shows.

In a new conversation, MusicTech sits down with three female and NB-led manufacturers to discuss the implications of We Are Moving The Needle’s recent Fix The Mix report, and what it is like to be female and non-binary in a male-dominated music tech industry.

And there’s one clear place where all three manufacturers agree that inequalities lie: trade shows.

According to Noise Engineering’s Kris Kaiser, a surprising number of people” walk directly past her, to a man wearing the same t-shirt to ask for a demo.

“Some will look directly at me, and then keep on walking,” Kaiser says. “We can only laugh it off at this point because it is so common it’s comical.”

Eva Manley from Manley Laboratories too has felt ignored by men as she felt she wasn’t “pretty enough” to be a “booth babe”. Instead, she explains that she was often dismissed by the old white men that would come up to the booth and ask about the products.

Similarly, Ohma’s co-founder Charlene Gibbs revealed that this treatment started from a young age.

“I’ve done trade shows since I was 12. To be completely ignored in pro audio to now where I feel like I have really demanded a lot of validation from my peers,” explains Gibbs. “That took over 15 years, and that could have been a lot shorter time if I were [Co-founder of Ohma, Sammy Rothman]. I’m a musician and producer too, and people still don’t think I’m the one who’s doing the work. It’s nuts. There’s still a lot of reflexive thoughts where they just really underestimate you.”

Learn more at We Are Moving The Needle.


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