Hours and hours of arranging clips, adding transitions, colour-grading and ensuring that the video plays as smooth as butter — this is the world of a video editor. Based on a report by the Center For The Study of Women in Television & Film, the percentage of female editors in the Hollywood industry has held steady at only 20% for over 20 years and counting. Whether it’s film, TV or video content for Facebook and Youtube, female video editors are quite the rare bunch. It begs the question: why is there this disparity between male and female video editors?

Through a quick poll, we realised that there are some common reasons that deter females from wanting to step into this man’s world. Some feel intimidated by the technicalities of the softwares, some feel that the industry is already too male-dominated which makes them apprehensive, others just don’t find it interesting. There seems to be a subtle stigma for women when it comes to video production. It possibly even stems from the fact that the equipment is heavy, there are too many technical jargons and as females, it can be overwhelming to deal with a team of men. 

We decided to ask our one and only female video editor, Lesha Mansukhani, on her thoughts about this stigma.

What made you so interested in video-making and editing?

Lesha, female video editor

I actually started out as one of those pretentious indie film lovers. I love film and everything about film. And deep down, I really wanted to recreate the things I saw, the beauty displayed on the screen and the feelings I have after watching a brilliant piece! I want that, and I want to share this passion with others so that they have the chance to experience it for themselves. I feel that through video-making and editing, I have a platform where I can express my creativity and share them through moving visuals.

Do you sense a stigma against female video editors?

Yes 100%. I think it’s been around for generations (since TV existed) — which my generation is now trying to fight. Back then, men were told that women in film could not be trusted to work hard, because of their hysteria and laziness and just an overall lack of capability. Also, the strength and hard work required to carry a really heavy camera back then and working in the sun was not something favourable amongst women.

The number of women in the film and video world is still appalling. And I think it’s because girls and women are scared to enter an industry that is so male dominated, understandably so. You will constantly feel the need to prove yourself and try to fit in.

How does it feel like to be in an industry that is seemingly male-dominated?

Scary to be honest. I mean like I said, it feels like I have to over compensate to prove the same point sometimes. It feels like it’s harder to gain respect too — it’s a vicious cycle you know. It’s male dominated so you’re scared. You’re scared for so long to the point that all the time you could have spent getting better at what you do, is wasted. But you still choose to try and enter the industry. And by the time you get into it, it’s a bit too late. 

You’re not as good as your peers because you’ve been scared for so long, you lose the respect and reinforce the bias of any male in your midst. It’s a tough world to break into but I feel that women should take up the challenge and not let their fears control their dreams and ambitions. Life is too short for regrets and what ifs.

What do you enjoy most as a video editor?

Lesha, female video editor

Connecting with people. I think the easiest dissemination of information is through visuals, and video. It’s a universal language. To me, being able to connect with people across the world through a single idea is the sexiest dream ever.

What advice do you have for female video creators/editors?

Lesha, female video editor

It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be shitty but just know that your skills speak more than your gender. And you just gotta push through and not be scared. That’s the only way to topple the gap, through fearlessness and education. Also, if you’re as blessed as I am to be in the midst of cool male peers who support me and want to see me grow, then you’re even luckier. (Ivan, Justin & Julian, Agon, that’s all of you) 

Think about it: with more female perspectives, we might evolve in the way we shoot and edit. This can be eye-opening for male video editors so that they understand the struggles of a female video editor, and it might be the nudge needed for female video editors to rise to the challenge. 

In the digital era, videos are here to stay. What better time to embark on a journey of being one of the world’s best storytellers and winning the hearts of millions?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Raihana Safarulla says:

    Hey Ms.Lesha Mansukhani,
    I could relate a lot to your story. I am not a pro in this but on a learning stage in the world of video editing and I love it! (I work with Adobe premiere pro). Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how female editors should come up & out. I am really looking forward to work with your wonderful team ,NASDAILY if I ever get a chance to. Mending my knowledge about videoediting now.
    Thank You.

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