Women need to block out 'imposter syndrome'

"Funny enough, when I put out a call for female composers, I get a bunch of submissions from men."

Are we there yet?
Kelly Bayett
Barking Owl, a sound and music company

Tell us one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe that there’s still a problem.

I have grown up in this industry as a female in what has traditionally been a male space. For years, on conference calls with my female producers we were asked who else we are waiting for, even if we have stated exactly who will be on the call. There is always a little bit of shock and surprise on the other side and then we all move on. When screening at an agency recently, a man came up to me after presenting my work and said, "Did YOU do all of this?" I replied that I did. He asked, "Without a holding company or any help?" I replied that it was true. I also explained that Barking Owl started in my house as I was a single mom with two kids and that we're still independent today. "Hm," he replied with raised eyebrows. While the work itself is impressive, it seemed more impressive to him that a woman could do it.   People constantly underestimate what women can do. Some of the most interesting and dynamic business owners I know are women who are undeterred and not upset by that kind of questioning. We just keep moving forward.

How about something that proves we're making progress?

I think that companies are really trying to incorporate more women and minorities into their work and bidding process. Over the last few years, there have been a bunch of women's empowerment pieces, as well as pieces for minorities coming out, and they do like those groups to be a part of the process. What would be amazing is if those initiatives or the pieces of work where they really wanted women and minorities involved actually had funding. It’s always something that some huge corporate brand wants to get out there but they really don’t have any money, but it’s IMPORTANT that people know about this initiative. They want us to have a seat at the table but they don’t want to pay us enough to eat.

What else needs to be done to get there?

I think there are things that the industry needs to do, but even more importantly, there are things that we need to do. I am constantly looking for female composers, engineers and sound designers and they're really difficult to find. Funny enough, when I put out a call for female composers, I get a bunch of submissions from men. Women don’t tend to put themselves out there as much. I think sometimes we suffer from imposter syndrome or the fear of not being heard. It’s something that happens from an abundance of experiences being overlooked, turned down and put down because of our gender. But we have to remember, that's just noise. Block it out and keep moving forward. We are deserving, we are talented and what we bring to a project is important and unique. We need to take up space and own that space.

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