Opinion: Working to empower women in Utah’s workforce
WalletHub just named Utah 50th in the nation for women’s equality in the workplace for the fourth year in a row. We formed this group to to foster a supportive environment and network for women in our industry.
Connect. Network. Collaborate. Grow!
This is our mission to help support women within the video production and photography industry in Utah.
As three women working in production and photography, we bonded over similar challenges we have faced in our careers — from lower pay, to harassment, to people doubting our credibility just because of our gender. Once we started working at BW Productions and had a safe place to express our concerns, we knew we wanted to help other women and challenge the industry norms.
We want to shape a better future for women and promote equity, inclusion and opportunity for women in this industry. In December 2021, we created the Facebook group Utah Women in Production and Photography (UWIPP) to serve as a community for women to collaborate and share this important message.
So, why is this group growing so fast and needed today?
To begin, WalletHub just named Utah 50th in the nation for the worst state for women’s equality in the workplace for the fourth year in a row. On top of that, NYWIFT’s studies show that women accounted for 25% of key behind-the-scenes roles (directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, cinematographers) in 2021. Trends show that when women are in key roles, more women are hired in supporting roles.
UWIPP was formed with the mission to foster a supportive environment and network for women in the industry. Our main forum in Facebook groups ensures easy access and availability to many women within our industry and allows us to stream events on Facebook Live for those who are unable to attend in person.
Women in our industry unfairly face challenges that their male counterparts do not. Issues they are faced with on a daily basis include misogyny, sexism, harassment, unequal treatment and lesser pay. The video production and photography industry is also primarily made up of freelancers, which creates an environment where the consequences of poor behavior are difficult to enforce, and if actions are taken, their effects are short-lived. This leads to a culture of complacency, and women feel pressured to tolerate harassment.
At our recent event, we spoke with many women who, despite their hard work, are feeling “stuck” in roles such as being a production assistant (the person who grabs coffee and does odd, simple jobs on a set). There were even stories of women who reported harassment to their female supervisors, who ultimately did nothing and treated it as if it were just part of the job.
We want to change the culture of the industry. We want to create a safe environment that provides a foundation for women to achieve their career goals.
UWIPP is working to empower changes by holding monthly networking events, presentations, panels, mentorship programs, weekly communication through social media and monthly articles on inspiring women. The group has been able to reach more women in the community through social media, and within the first couple of months, UWIPP has reached over 150 members. By using this platform we want to bring this amazing community of women together to spark change and shake the industry.
Through community support and engagement, UWIPP can truly make a difference for women in our industry and others. By bringing more women together, we can achieve our goals of promoting equity, inclusion and opportunity for women. We are looking for more organizations to collaborate with, offer presentations for our group and help us change the environment for all women.
So, please join us to connect, network, collaborate and grow as strong women within the video production and photography industry.
McKayla Kreutzkamp, Stephanie Dunn and Madison Mackay all work in production and photography for BW Productions.