HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY! This annual celebration is the perfect opportunity for introspection and to take stock of the role that women play in the music industry. In recent years, much work has been done in shifting perception from glorified sex symbols to (in)credible professionals who deserve equal footing with men. But much more remains to be done...
Did you know that women still only account for 21-22% of all recording artists? That only 12-13% are songwriters? And that only a meagre 2% are producers? Boardroom figures aren’t much better. Considering they amass 50% of the world’s population, women are incredibly under represented. And even when are they present, often they find themselves in the shadow of men. The gulf in the gender paygap - even within the creative industries - remains staggeringly imbalanced. A few things are clear. We need more diversity. More inclusivity. And more equality. However, there are some positive movements to talk about. Here are some of the heroes - or should we say heroines - who are making a stand.
Ibiza’s International Music Summit and shesaid.so have a history of collaboration, but 2019 marks a pivotal change in their relationship dynamic. The annual conference has tackled the issue of gender bias for the past few years, with shesaid.so contributing heavily to the discussion. This year they go one step further by co-hosting the event, as well as playing a significant role in curating the panels. IMS always throws up some interesting talking points - and in light of recent events both within and outside of our industry in the last 12-months, it's clearly an issue where much groundwork is still required.
On home turf, Radio 1 heiress-in-waiting, Annie Mac is expanding her AMP event series with a bold new approach. The Lost & Found festival proprietor had already announced four days of musical programming across the capital, from 27th-30th March. In addition to the 14-gigs, Annie has now released details of two-days of talks at Hackney’s Moth Club on days 3 & 4. Designed to encompass debate about the key topics within the music business, Annie says she wants to “create discussions involving voices I wanted to hear from, about subjects I was personally keen to explore.” With the first day focusing on ‘The Industry’, Annie and her panel will plough headfirst into the question “Where are all the female bosses?” in association with Smirnoff’s Equalising Music campaign. No doubt reactionary to the lopsided ratio of men to women in the boardroom in both our industry, and beyond.
Another example would be Kent-based Toolroom Records, and their #wearelistening campaign which has endeavoured to put up-and-coming female producers directly infront of their A&R for instant, personal feedback and a genuine chance at getting music signed to the label. Always keen to nurture and develop their own roster of in-house talent, the initiative is already bearing fruit. Keep your ears peeled for future stars Carly Carmen, Alisha, Trish Complete and Sophia Essél.
Switching attention to the airwaves, SISTER is a radio platform that has pledged to do their bit in exposing more female artists. Presenters such as Carly Wilford are passionate in their pursuit of a level playing ground.
Across the pond, DISCWOMAN have been setting a precedence since 2014. The collective began life as a two-festival aimed at promoting women within electronic music as a reaction to what they deemed was female peers being overlooked and underbooked, in comparison to their male counterparts. Since then, the entity has picked-up momentum and now operates as a multi-platform one-stop-shop for female-identifying professionals within electronic music. Their business portfolio boasts an event company and talent agency combined with a touring presence. You can get a taste of what DISCWOMAN is all about by catching co-founder Umfang play B2B with Volvox at Junction 2 on Friday 7th June for a spot of technofeminism.
Disrupting the status quo back on UK shores, publications such as ASH magazine not only challenging outdated notions and inaccurate portrayals of women from the creative industries - but also break the mould in ensuring that the romance of print journalism is alive and well. Check-out their Spotify playlists that accompany each edition to discover some seriously talented - and overlooked - female singer/songwriters/composers/producers.
Of course, one simple exercise that promoters can make is by booking more female headliners. Thankfully, we can say that we are starting to see this more and more, albeit in small clusters. One recent example is Percolate, and their impressive multi-venue Queen’s Yard Summer Party which boasts Donna Leake, Amy Becker and Jane Fitz amongst their frontline. Another would be Dance For Refuge’s fundraiser - fitting taking place at FOLD tonight. All profits raised will be donated to Women For Refugees, and looking down the line-up you won’t find a Y chromosome in sight!
We’re proud to be supporting both events - and you can find further ticket details below.