Gender discrimination in voice over business?
Once in a while the rare opportunity takes place that voice over, based in the Netherlands come together and sometimes they discuss prices. Not organized I mean, just coincidentally. And it just so happens that I was part of such a discussion. I knew that male voices are booked more frequently than female ones, but had no idea about the actual relation. I simply assumed in general we had the same conditions and roughly the same experiences. Till a female colleague of mine told about a recent experience. The client had asked her: “Why do you ask so much. You just read a script. What justifies your fee?” To be very clear about the dimension: we talk about several hundred Euro’s at the most, in this case. A normal fee for the production at hand. I nodded, because I too had heard that question. And it seemed we all nodded, ‘cause we all knew this sentence. To my surprise the male colleagues in the room did not nod, they reacted outraged. They couldn’t imagine, that a client would ask that. They never heard a question like that, before!
With that on the table we presented our prices to each other and again: the women in the room had difficulties to handle their prices – not always, but we all knew the phenomenon. The women experienced the rate negotiation on regular basis – the male colleagues didn’t. I examined the topic a bit closer. It seemed that most of the times our male colleagues got paid quicker than female ones, and were capable of/or had the opportunity to agree on a better fee, when it concerned the same job. That is not always the case, but it certainly was a tendency!
That inspires some thinking. Especially over here in the western or modern or industrialised countries?:
- Is that a Dutch situation, or does this difference also applies in other countries?
- How about emancipation? (not that I was ever impressed by it)
- How much more do male colleagues earn in average and would that be the very same difference of 25%, which we have in the Netherlands?
- Does the (voice) industry believe men have more value (and why would that be)?
- Are women capable of asking the same fee, and if so, why not?
We are definitely not there yet and we are definitely not equal, if we ever were.
I vote for matriarchy!