Kris Kaiser addresses harmful stereotypes of husband and wife duos in manufacturing: “I was told that wives just do the business side of things”
Kris Kaiser founded Eurorack modular synthesis brand Noise Engineering alongside her husband Stephen McCaul.
Kris Kaiser of Noise Engineering. Image: Ben Clark, Ujin Kim and Britt McTammany via Shoutout LA
Noise Engineering’s Kris Kaiser has addressed the harmful comments and stereotypes she has faced whilst working alongside her husband Stephen McCaul.
The two founded the Eurorack modular synthesis brand together in 2014, and in a new interview with us at MusicTech, Kaiser gives honest insight into the harmful ideas that women who work alongside their husbands in manufacturing just “do the business side” of operations.
Kaiser jumped from being a biology professor to working in hardware development, and she explains of her journey, “I didn’t have a lot of experience in electro-engineering. I was told explicitly that, in the modular synth world, there are a lot of companies that are husband and wife teams, and I was told that wives just do the business side of things.”
She continues, “But that’s not true. It’s not to say it’s not important – and the women who are taking care of that are doing an amazing job, and I don’t mean to denigrate that in any way – it’s just not all I do.”
Another manufacturer who also speaks to us about this same issue is EveAnna Manley of Manley Laboratories: “If I had just been a worker bee, where I wasn’t married to one of the principals, it may have been easier for me because I wouldn’t have had the whole ‘you’re married to him ’ excuse which people would use,” she explains.
“I was always fighting to be my own person and be taken seriously for what I’d figured out or learned. I just had to keep my head down and keep being awesome!”
Gender discrimination is being experienced in the production side of the music industry too. Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer Emily Lazar spoke to us about how data on gender equality in music could be improved by tracking freelance producers.
“Every record label knows how many marketing people they have that are women or identify as non-binary. They know within their companies who they’re hiring and there are quotas they have to meet. But not for the people who make the records – and this is a really important piece of the picture,” she said.
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