As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse music business are changing the narrative and the mind-sets, allowing for more and more female executives reaching higher levels of responsibility, artists and producers getting the traction they rightly deserve.
In this series of interviews, we’ve asked the ladies behind Women in Music, Keychange, Shesaid.so and Felin/MEWEM how the place and role of the women in the music industry – be it artists or executives – has changed in the past years and how they expect it to evolve.
Here’s what they had to say!
As the conversation continues to grow, I expect it to become more inclusive
“The challenges women face in the industry have not changed over the years. The same concerns that applied 30 years ago, apply today. However, the industry has made moves – for the first time, we’re acknowledging these challenges, speaking them out loud, & taking steps to action against them. As the conversation continues to grow, I expect it to become more inclusive. Even as women, we fail to recognize that we have varying levels of privilege afforded to us depending on our race, sexual orientation, class, & more. Our differences make us stronger & more valuable as career people, as allies, and as mentors to young talent. The more we speak up & out, the better our chances are at eliminating this conversation altogether as we move toward equity, which should be our shared goal.”
Chissy Nkemere, Global Chair of Diversity & Inclusion, Women in Music
“Just even in the past decade there’s been a huge shift in how people perceive women in the music industry, whether that’s as content creators, business people or anything in-between. As a producer and woman who works in music tech, to me it feels like our visibility has increased 1000%. I imagine the change will continue and we’ll start to see more visibility at a higher tier.”
Erin Barra, Global Chair of Education & Technology, Women in Music
There’s now much more awareness of the existing gender imbalance within all areas of the music industry
The conversation around the position of women and under-represented genders in the music industry has become increasingly vocal over the past few years, and especially during the time that the Keychange project has been active. There’s now much more awareness of the existing gender imbalance within all areas of the music industry – be that performers on a stage, members of an artist’s team, a venue’s technical staff, the compositions performed by orchestras, members of that orchestra, board members and company executives.
One of the many fantastic things about taking part in Keychange has been to see the energy and engagement from the wider music community in engaging with and highlighting this important conversation. From small collectives building gender-balance focused initiatives together, to the 300+ festivals and organisations engaging daily with the Keychange pledge, under-represented genders have more support than ever before in claiming their rightful place in the music industry – with Keychange’s position being to guide, encourage and support all of our participants, signatories and collaborators as these conversations and actions take place.
Francine Gorman, Outreach Coordinator, Keychange (UK) – full interview here
Women from the industry who are gathering threw new networks.
“In France, 14% of companies in the music industry are created by women (1), women produce with 40% less subsidies than men (2), with MEWEM we want to reverse the trend!
Since the huge #MeToo movement, there has been a wakeup call in all the cultural industries, music included. People are starting to realize that there is a bias toward women, that they are under-represented and considered, change is coming. Whether it is parity or female-only collective organizing festivals, events and conferences, journalists shining a light on female artists, or women from the industry who are gathering threw new networks. In France, from 2 years, many panels and work groups have been set, mainly during professional events. It shows that women are, in fact, everywhere, doing an amazing job. MEWEM is part of this revolution, giving young entrepreneurs the tools they need so they can be successful and shape tomorrow’s world.”
Céline Lepage, General Delegate, FELIN (France) & Loren Synnaeve, Project Manager, MEWEM (France) – full interview here
There has been a great deal of awareness and some solutions implemented mostly due to the increasing media pressure
“We’ve definitely made huge progress in the past five years, alas we’re yet to see concrete and long-lasting results. There has been a great deal of awareness and some solutions implemented (it feels somewhat empowering to write this today, Feb 24th, upon hearing about Weinstein guilty verdict), mostly due to the increasing media pressure we are all applying on companies other industry stakeholders. It’s time for all of us involved in this space to take a step further and identify specific clauses in the law, or policies that will make gender parity and diversity & inclusion, overall, a long lasting reality.”
Andreea Magdalina, CEO, shesaid.so (UK/USA) – full interview here
For the past 5 years, Midem has been working closely with Women in Music, Keychange, Shesaid.so and Felin/MEWEM, and many more associations across the world, to have the voices of the women of the music business heard – from its leading executives, to the new generation of professionals, as well as the artists, creators and technicians – through its conference programme, competitions, networking session and creative opportunities.