All about producing and mastering audio for disc, the web and beyond

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's a Man's, Man's, Man's Man's World?? (with apologies)

Something I have wondered about and wondered at over the years are, why is it that the field of technical music and especially recording/mixing and mastering is so dominated by men? On the surface it really makes no sense at all. Women are purported to have better hearing than men on average, and on average girls mathematical and scientific acuity is at least a match for their male counterpoints and quite possibly surpass it.

I have had the privilege to work on records by one of the foremost women rock engineers, Trina Shoemaker, and Joanna Nickrenz in NYC is at the top of our field recording classical music in NYC. Darcy Proper is a stellar mastering engineer and chief at Galaxy Studios in Belgium. Closer to home Lisa Nigris runs the audio dep't at New England Conservatory, Susan Rogers and Leanne Ungar are fantastic, accomplished engineers, and colleagues of mine at Berklee College of Music. I routinely have 3-4 female students per semester teaching at the brick and mortar college and online,
but unscientifically I would say they represent 1-2 percent of the engineers I encounter. I would be remiss if I didn't metnion RObin Coxe-Yeldham who was a fantastic engineer and my first business partner. She passed away about 15 years ago.

(maybe a companion question is how come so many engineers are bachelors....for another day)

This question was posed to me just recently by a musician and so I decided to jot down the possible explanations, not really putting a stake in any one of them.

- Women are smarter than men and wouldn't get involved in a job involving long hours and no pay!
- Society dissuades girls early in their school careers from becoming involved in technical endeavors
- Who would want to hang around with a bunch of unshaven, smelly, beer drinking guys?

What do you think?

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