The Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) has issued a stark warning about the entrenched misogyny plaguing the music industry, calling for urgent action to address the systemic discrimination faced by women in the field.
In its report titled “Misogyny in Music”, the WEC exposes a pervasive culture of sexism and inequality, labeling the industry as a “boys’ club” where sexual harassment and abuse are commonplace, and reporting of such incidents is shockingly low. The report highlights the sad reality that victims who come forward are often faced with disbelief and reprisals, which jeopardise their careers.
Despite strides in representation, women continue to encounter barriers to opportunities, lack of support, and unequal pay, with those facing intersecting forms of discrimination, such as racial bias, being the most affected by these injustices.
Female artists are routinely undervalued, subjected to reviews over their appearance, and forced to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to gain recognition for their talent.
The committee’s recommendations include legislative amendments to the Equality Act to ensure freelancers receive the same protections against discrimination as employees. Additionally, calls are made for increased investment in diverse talent and improved pathways for women in male-dominated sectors like Artists and Repertoire (A&R) and sound engineering.
The report also demands transparency from record labels, with larger organizations mandated to disclose data on workforce diversity and gender pay gaps. Stricter regulations are proposed for industry spaces where harassment occurs, including licensing requirements for studios, venues, and security personnel.
Regarding non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), the WEC urges the government to ban their use in cases involving sexual misconduct and discrimination, considering a retrospective moratorium for those affected.
Highlighting the need for cultural change, the Chair of the Women and Equality Committee, Caroline Nokes MP, insisted that transforming the behavior of industry operators, particularly men, is crucial to empowering women and promoting an inclusive environment where talent can thrive.
While the establishment of a Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) is seen as a step forward, the committee acknowledges that more comprehensive measures may be necessary to drive meaningful change.
In the end, the WEC’s report underscores the imperative of confronting misogyny head-on and dismantling the barriers that hinder women’s progress in the music industry. It calls for a collective effort from both the industry and the government to implement sustainable reforms and ensure that women’s voices are not only heard but valued and rewarded on equal footing.
Click here if you want to read the full Misogyny in Music report