WILM Survey “Why do women go or not go to tech trade shows/workshops”

Aim for the survey 

The purpose of this survey was to find out what makes women in the industry go or not go to tech trade shows and workshops. We were especially curious to know what would be behind when our female colleagues decide not to visit shows and workshops. 

It is important to us to know more about this as we can see from the experience of various trade shows that there is a significant imbalance between men and women visiting the shows/workshops. 

With this survey we will make an effort to look into this issue in order to find solutions that can improve a more equal balance at tech trade shows and tech workshops

Target group  

Women who are currently working in the live event industry in technical fields, such as sound, light and video. As well as women, who have studied or are studying for a tech trade in the live event industry.  

The target group was reached mainly through social media with the survey  shared broadly in the live music industry and via word by mouth. 

Results  

A total number of 23 women from across the European live event industry have answered the survey. 

12% answered that they have been to tech trade shows or workshops 3-4 times. 52,1% answered that they have been to trade shows or workshops more than 4  times. The rest of the respondents have visited 1-2  times or none at all. A noticeable amount of women (47,6%) believe that visiting trade shows/workshops are highly beneficial for their careers. 

Whereas the rest of the respondents were divided between the answers ‘A little’ and ‘Barely’ 

The majority (86,4%) responded that the main reason for visiting a trade show for them is meeting new people and to network. However, a considerable amount (68,1% and 63,5% respectively) believe that getting to know new products and workshops/lectures is very important as well.  

The main reason for NOT going to a trade show for 72,7% (16 out 21) of the women was that they are usually busy during this time. In addition one of the respondents specified: “Either working or taking care of my child”. 

50% answered that the place of the show is not convenient for them. 

While 36,4% can’t afford going to a trade show. 

Interestingly, 22,7% find it intimidating to be a single woman there. 

The respondents were asked to answer the following question: “What should happen to definitely make you visit a tech trade show/workshop?” 

Here are some of the  answers: 

  • Put them on closer to my home city” (woman from the UK) 
  • “More women in the room.”  
  • “Workshops and lessons on things I want to learn about (for example in-depth  studies of wireless technology, or other things that can raise competence)” 
  • “Free training” 
  • “Having company, regardless of gender. I don’t know many people in the business outside the place I’m employed.” 
  • “Be a valuable way of spending my time, must be more than just “look at this new stuff we’re selling”” 

In addition are here the kinds of trade shows/workshops women would be interested in: 

-Light
-Sound (some mentioned sound system design workshops/seminars in  particular as well as trainings on mentoring new people)
-Video 

Conclusion

When the responses answered how many times they have been visiting a tech trade show or workshop, it is necessary to take into account that this could have been related to a training they might have been undergoing at the time of a visit as it is not mentioned which trade shows/workshops they have been attending.

It is noticeable that 47,6% (10 out of 21) of the responses believe that visiting trade  shows/workshops is highly beneficial for their careers. We should however, furthermore assume that when the respondents replied A littleand Barely that they perhaps are not correctly informed of the content for trade shows and therefore do not feel that this is appealing to them as technicians.

It is worth noting that 86,4% (19 out of 22) responded that they come to trade shows to network. A quote however, from one of the respondents said that it ‘must be more than just “look at this new stuff we’re selling” This could tell us something about that women have a different approach than men regarding visiting these kind of events

Sadly 22,7% (5 out of 27 respondents) find it intimidating to visit a tech trade show/workshop as a woman. We believe that this point deserves extra attention, and should be investigated deeper. 

However there is no doubt to us that involving WILM and providing a ‘Safe spot’ in form of the WILM diversity lounge was a step in the right direction.

Furthermore, it was mentioned from one of the respondents that she already has to choose between her child or work. This made us think that it would make sense to look into how an inclusive environment for women, who are expecting or need to bring babies/smaller children could be created.

This survey has shown that in general women are interested in visiting trade  shows and workshops. However, there are still some bullet points that made it clear to us that more women could be interested in visiting trade shows if some adjustments were made.

Some did find it far and expensive to travel, some said they want more training  sessions and networking opportunities. Moreover the support from female communities seems to be important for the women from the AV and live event industry as this would make them feel more included and motivated to come. 

For obvious reasons ISE was this year unfortunately at the very beginning of the touring and festival, why it was to expect that a great number of potential trade show goers were not able to attend. This will be different for next year, where the trade show will happen Jan.31st – Feb.3rd. Which is known to be in the ‘slow periode’ of  the live event industry.

Suggestions related to the survey’s outcome

  • Attract future attendees by offering more training opportunities
  • Provide a marketing perspective with a specific focus for female goers of the trade show
  • More meet up-possibilities for trade show goers with a social aspect
  • Initiate a more thorough investigation why some women find it intimidating to visit a tech trade show/workshop
  • Affordable hotels in a lower price class
  • Including facilities for expecting mothers and mothers with infants/small children

On behalf of the WILM team it is important for us to mention there is indeed room for improvement when it comes to this survey. However, please feel free to reach out to us to discuss our survey and the outcome.

Malle Kaas, Valerie Gard, Signe Elvstrøm & Aiste Baltraityte

 

Asked Questions
1. How many times have you been to a tech trade show or participated in a tech workshop?

2. Do you find visiting tech trade shows/workshops beneficial for your career?

3. Which parts of trade shows/workshops are you most interested in?

4. If you don’t go to a trade show/workshop, what is the most probable reason?

5. What should happen to definitely make you visit a tech trade show/workshop?

6. What kind of trade shows/workshops in general would you be interested in?

Feel free to email us at [email protected] for further info 

The WILM team