Rise is an organisation promoting gender diversity in broadcast. Launched in 2017 by Sadie Groom, Rise caters for women in technical roles throughout the industry complementing the hard work of groups aimed at creative roles. Rise runs a mentoring programme, networking and educational events throughout the year as well as working to promote female role models.
Rise and other advocacy groups are active in highlighting the changes – large and small – that can be done to make the industry more neutral and encouraging to women. Carrie Wootten, Director at Rise, explains “Gender diversity is now recognised as one of the most pressing issues facing our sector. Research demonstrates that having a more gender-balanced structure leads to additional ideas, creativity, business development and crucially income generation. However, there is still a long way to go before this recognition is reflected back through all levels of seniority within companies across the industry.”
An example of smaller, yet important, actions follows on from research carried out by Rise which showed that less than 25% of manufacturer’s websites had photos of women using equipment. Changing something like this is easy, low cost and impactful – taken as a whole.
Just as there are many smaller changes that can be made, larger ones include improving child care facilities, creating equal hiring practices such as Sky have adopted, rewording job descriptions so they are open and neutral, putting effort into ways of sourcing candidates to maximise exposure to potential female applicants amongst many others.
2018 saw the launch of the mentoring scheme which provided a monthly touchpoint with the mentor, meet their mentee group and attend networking events. Free to join, even in the first year there were 43 applicants. Reviewing the applications a theme was clear; a strong desire to be mentored and learn which showed how much the scheme was needed. In the end, 17 mentees were matched with mentors from companies across the industry; manufacturers, broadcasters, service providers and more.
Jasmine Brighouse works as an ingest operator at Sky and was encouraged by her company to apply to Rise. Three years into her broadcast career, she was yet to fully find her feet. “I chose to apply partly for the networking opportunities but also because I was lost for direction in my career,” Jasmine explains. After six months on the scheme, meeting her mentor and mentee group monthly, Jasmine says she felt “considerably more motivated, and actually very inspired. Being around other career motivated women helped me to realise there are a number of different routes in broadcast”.
This is exactly what Rise aims to achieve and a major reason why the scheme won at the National Mentoring Awards. “It is recognition of the impact that the mentoring programme had on our mentees and our mentors involved last year, and then in turn, how this has benefitted the wider broadcast manufacturing and services sector,” explained Rise Director Carrie Wootten.
Supported by companies such as Avid, Clear-Com, Imagen, DPP, Bubble Agency, Pixelogic and NEP amongst others, the mentoring scheme is running again in 2019 and has just started with 23 mentees and mentors. Rise is free to join and open to anyone.