Being young and female in the outdoor events industry

In my professional world, I am acutely aware that I am in the minority. As a young female, working as a Production and Logistics Assistant for health and safety experts, Symphotech, I spend my day to day working alongside and liaising with men.

Despite being in the minority, I absolutely love my job and am passionate about developing my career in this industry. This prompted me to consider what it is that makes young events professionals successful and what, if anything, can be done to encourage other females in the profession that I enjoy so much.

Admittedly, working in the events industry didn’t really cross my mind until I was deciding on what course I wanted to take at University. At first I was quite shy and unsure as to whether this was the right career path for me, but as soon as I started to meet more people in the industry through going to events and volunteering, it became apparent that this was a world full of friendly, passionate people and I was sure I wanted to be one of them. When I graduated, I made the decision to become self employed as a freelancer and was determined to pursue my career within the live events industry.

Being shy, I now realise, was the one thing holding me back at the very beginning of my career and whilst many young events’ professionals have dreams of working on iconic outdoor festivals, such as Glastonbury, without the willingness to put yourself out there and confidently network, this simply remains a dream for many. Whilst confidence is not a gender specific trait, it does seem that some young female professionals do not have the same confidence as men and therefore getting your first step on the ladder or foot through the door can seem very daunting; it certainly did for me. I also had to fight against the common presumption that my desire to work in the events industry must mean I wanted to be a wedding planner!

For whatever reason, being in a male dominated industry as a young female, you do feel that you have to prove your worth. Occasionally, in previous jobs, it has felt like you have to work twice as hard to earn the respect of the male dominated crew simply because you’re female. However, within my current company and more broadly, it seems there is a positive shift. Women are taking on roles within the industry, such as riggers, which typically have been male roles. I feel strongly that if women continue to take roles because they are passionate about them, regardless of who has typically carried these out, then more women will see the amazing variety of jobs available to them within this industry. More importantly, young females will feel confident in the knowledge they can succeed in this industry.

My experience within the industry has been a positive one and I’m a firm believer that if you are determined and prepared to put in the work then you will be noticed. Again it is more about having the confidence and self-belief in your abilities and having a healthy can do attitude which will help you regardless to what gender you are.

Even so, there are still things I would like to see changed with regards the outdoor event industry providing more supportive structures for young people, especially freelancers. I can talk from experience as getting into the industry as a freelancer wasn’t easy.

Finding the right company to work for has been really important for me and my career. I have found that having the support and guidance from Symphotech over the last four years has been really crucial in developing my knowledge and understanding of the industry and allowing my confidence to really flourish. 

I remember the first time I worked on a music concert with Symphotech. To me the feeling you get when you see the crowd smiling, singing, dancing and enjoying an event is the most satisfying feeling in the world, because you helped make that moment happen. The first time I felt that was electric and still to this day I get this feeling at every event I work on and it is always that moment that brings me most joy.  This is the reason I love working in this industry and will continue to strive moving forward.