International Women’s Day: celebrating the fantastic women part of our SAE community

08 Mar 2018

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and here at SAE we wanted to shed light on the fantastic and talented women that are part of our creative media community.

Current female students and alumni alike are paving the way for greater gender diversity in the creative industries, with many doing exceptional things in their field and showing true passion and motivation to make their mark.

The theme for this years IWD is #PressforProgress, which encourages people all over the world to share the actions they are going to take to try and achieve gender parity.

When looking at the creative industries, there are certain roles that are still male dominated such as Audio Engineers, Directors and Web Designers. However, at SAE there are many talented women that aim to be industry game-changers and will, through their fantastic work, help push for greater gender diversity in their chosen field.

Laura Seears, an SAE London graduate of Digital Film Production, is a Steadicam Operator and has worked on feature films and music video projects with the likes of Stormzy. Despite people doubting her ability in the past, she has had a really positive experience in the industry.

“My experience so far in this industry has been amazing. I love that every day is different, every job is so unique and there is always such creativity that goes into each shoot. It can be tough to make it in the industry whether you're a man or a woman but the most important factor in this industry is if you can do your job well.

“There have been times that certain people have doubted my ability to be able to operate a steadicam based on my size and build. Aside from that on the rare occasion, I don't feel that my experience in the industry has been that different to that of men. I've been fortunate enough to work with some very talented and creative people. Being a woman in a male dominated area of the industry does make you stand out more, but it's what you know and your skill set that keeps you there.”

Natasha Khan, is a Singer, Songwriter, Composer and Audio Engineer. After completing her Audio Production at SAE London, she moved to Pakistan where she is the first qualified female audio engineer. Today she is a lead singer on Coke Studio -  the longest-running annual TV music show in Pakistan. 

“I’ve been a musician for 13 years. I always wanted to produce my own music so I started looking for a degree online and I came across audio engineering being offered at the world’s largest audio engineering institute – SAE, and that’s when things started to fall into the right place. I am proud to be Pakistan’s first qualified female audio engineer. I had a lot of interest in films other than music and I specialised in sound for film.

“After my degree, I left my hometown of London where I grew up, and I travelled to Pakistan due to the cinema revival in the country. It was never easy in the beginning to convince people in the industry that I am skilled and my work will make a difference due to the attention I pay to the detail of audio. My workflow and techniques were very different from how people work in Pakistan. Many a time, my name was recommended for projects but people didn’t believe that I, being a female, am a qualified audio engineer. It wasn’t until I worked with a Pakistani-based rock band on one of their songs, along with a big team of creatives, and later worked on a Pakistani feature film as a recording engineer, when my abilities were taken seriously. Thereafter, I’ve been doing sound designing for TV commercials and voice over work. I’ve been featured as an artist in two seasons of Coke Studio. I’m also producing my music album.

“The skills that I learnt at SAE really equipped me for the industry today. The theory has really helped me and I still go back to the books and the notes that I made during my lectures, they are still relevant. I feel I made the right choice. Although working in the mainstream is difficult, it is competitive, I’m very happy to be doing what I’m doing.”

Morghann Linnett-Richardson is a 2nd year Animation student at SAE Liverpool Despite noticing a lack of women in her industry, she is more motivated than ever to prove that her talent will bring her success as a compositor. 

“When I first started my degree, I didn’t really think much into how my gender may affect my career in the future. Once I realised what I really wanted to do, I noticed a lack of women in the industry. Whilst this did cause some concern with regards to whether I would experience any form of gender pay gap or whether my gender would have a deciding factor on my chances of getting a job, I have now found that my talents far outweigh my gender.

“I’m currently working closely with a VFX studio for one of my projects. Although the employees are male, I have not felt uncomfortable or ostracised as a woman in a male dominant workplace. I’m hopeful for the future because I do believe times are changing and we as a society are understanding the power and talents women have. Rather than worrying about where I will end up, I’m now focusing on working hard at what I’m best at, finding what makes my style of working unique and pushing myself to do the best I can.”

Emily May Turner, is a 2nd year Film student at SAE Liverpool and has been making an impact through her exceptional work. Towards the end of last year, Emily, along with fellow SAE student Lucy Ledger, created an impressive promotional trailer for the theatre production of War Horse that was playing at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. The video was used by the theatre as part of their promotional campaign on Facebook and it reached over 50,000 views, creating a real social media buzz over the hit production.

“As a woman in the film industry, I am proud to be producing films that allow me to stand out with every piece of work I make.”

Find out more about International Women’s Day.