MISOGYNY "ENDEMIC" IN U.K. MUSIC INDUSTRY 

Misogyny in the U.K. music industry is endemic, according to a government report that details the ways in which women are discriminated against and marginalized in the business.

The report, pulled together by the Women and Equalities Committee following oral evidence sessions with people from across the industry, paints a damning picture of the state of gender equality.

Despite work to increase diversity in recent years, women working in the British music industry face limitations in opportunity, a lack of support, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment and assault, according to the report summary.

There’s also the "persistent" issue of unequal pay in a sector dominated by self-employment and gendered power imbalances. These issues are said to be intensified for women faced with intersectional barriers, particularly racial discrimination.

NDA agreements on victims of discrimination, harassment and abuse are raised as particularly problematic. "Victims with little agency in the process are threatened into silence by organizations seeking to protect their reputation and the perpetrators of abuse who work for them," reads the report.

Non-reporting of incidents of sexual harassment and abuse is reportedly high, with victims who report behavior struggling to be believed. When they are, more often that not, it is their career not the perpetrators’ that ends, said interviewees.

“The music industry has always prided itself on being a vehicle for social change; when it comes to discrimination, and the harassment and sexual abuse of women, it has a lot of work to do,” the report concludes.

The report details a number of recommendations to improve the status quo. These include a potential amendment to the Equality Act to better protect those facing intersectional inequality; increasing investment in diverse talent; mandatory equality, diversity and inclusion training; better support for working parents; better protections for freelancers and the licensing of recording studios, which includes a sexual harassment risk assessment and clear reporting pathways.

The creation of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) is recommended to help shine a light on unacceptable behavior and provide a place for support and advice. The report also urges the Government to bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit the use of NDAs and other forms of confidentiality agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, harassment or misconduct, bullying or harassment.

In response, Jo Twist and YolanDa Brown, CEO and chair, respectively, of U.K. labels trade body BPI, said: “This report contains some thoughtful recommendations and recognizes that all parts of our industry have a shared responsibility to tackle this important issue head on.

“We are already working with the wider music sector to build on the progress our label members are leading the way in making and in supporting the work of UK Music and the ongoing development of CIISA. As the committee acknowledges, record companies have increased representation of women in executive positions, and we’re seeing more women—as artists and in their teams—achieve success.”

UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl said: “We will continue our work with the Government to drive out misogyny, bullying, abuse and harassment to ensure the U.K. music business is a welcoming place for women to work and pursue a career.

“We will also continue to engage with the development of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) and other proposals to ensure working our sector is a positive experience for all.”

Silvia Montello, CEO of the Association of Independent Music (AIM), said “The Misogyny in Music report makes for uncomfortable but sadly unsurprising reading—given my 34 years in the industry I have witnessed, experienced and campaigned against the inequalities and discrimination sadly still faced by women in music. And as one of the ‘relatively few’ women in the upper age bracket I can attest to the many challenges of navigating through and maintaining a successful music career and achieving a leadership position. It should not still be this hard, here in 2024, for women to be supported to succeed and to be taken as seriously as our male counterparts. “AIM welcomes the recommendations in the report which look to add extra safeguarding measures to protect women whatever their role, with more stringent training and certification for those who work with women to avoid abuse, harassment, sexual assault and bullying. We also welcome the recommendations to provide support for mothers, carers and freelancers.”

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