81 percent of women say it’s harder for female artists in music, with sexual harassment a key challenge
26 March 2021, 10:30 | Updated: 26 March 2021, 10:58
Marking Women’s History Month, this study finds that two-thirds of women creators in music identified sexual harassment or objectification as a persistent problem in the industry.
A big proportion of people in the music sector have expressed that it’s still harder for women artists to get recognition compared to their male colleagues.
81 percent of people surveyed in a Be The Change: Women Making Music study indicated that they don’t believe women get the level of acknowledgement their male peers achieve.
Another concerning finding of the study, which was conducted by MIDIA Research and distribution platform TuneCore/Believe, is that two-thirds of women have identified sexual harassment or objectification as a key challenge in music, making it by far the most widely cited problem in the study.
The findings point to ‘sexualisation’ and ‘objectification’ remaining a consequence, or symptom, of unbalanced power dynamics in music, with ageism (identified by 38 per cent of respondents), lack of access to male-dominated industry resources (36 per cent) and lower pay (27 percent) identified as key problems, by those surveyed.
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The study also highlights issues such as a lack of non-male role models, with 81 percent ‘agreeing’ and 49 percent ‘agreeing strongly’ that there aren’t as many female role models; unconscious bias (a staggering 90 percent highlighted this); and the persistence of expectations that women will inevitably revert to prioritising parenting over their careers.
401 women creators were surveyed from around the world for the study, many of them independent creators. The survey was distributed by major music organisations, including PRS Foundation, British Council, Help Musicians and Musicians Union.
“The issues, challenges and experiences highlighted in this report are not ‘women’s problems’ to be solved just by women in the music industry,” managing director at MIDIA Research, Mark Mulligan, says.
“The findings of this study articulate a systemic inequity in the music industry today, requiring thoughtful consideration, commitment to change and courageous action. This is required not of any one faction of the industry, or by women alone, but by all the industry’s organisations and constituents.”
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