Endemic Misogyny Persists In Music's 'Boys' Club,' This Committee Wants 'Transformative Change'

The music industry is a "boys' club" where discrimination and sexual harassment remain prevalent, according to an investigation recent parliamentary report in the U.K.

What Happened: Female artists face persisting gender disparities and challenges, Variety reports, citing an investigation led by the cross-party Women and Equalities Committee and chaired by MP Caroline Nokes.

Particularly male-dominated sectors identified include A&R (artists and repertoire), sound engineering, and production.

"Women’s creative and career potential should not have limits placed upon it by ‘endemic’ misogyny which has persisted for far too long within the music industry," Nokes said.

She emphasized that the report focuses on improving protections, reporting mechanisms, and necessary structural and legislative reforms.

The investigation also addressed racism in the industry and underscored the vulnerabilities faced by freelancers.

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Why It Matters: The committee is calling for legislative actions, proposing amendments to the Equality Act to ensure protection against discrimination for freelance workers, especially those experiencing intersectional inequality.

They recommend making employers accountable for safeguarding workers from sexual harassment by third parties and prohibiting the use of NDAs in cases involving sexual abuse, harassment, misconduct, bullying, or discrimination. The suggested legislation should also include a moratorium on previously signed NDAs in such circumstances.

The report highlights the potential impact of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) in addressing unacceptable behavior and reducing harm in the music industry. CIISA, set to launch later this year, aims to serve as a confidential reporting platform for those in the creative industries. It will publish industry-wide standards promoting inclusivity and addressing negative behaviors.

Nokes stressed the need for transformative change in the behavior of men within the music industry, asserting that ending the "endemic" misogyny is crucial for empowering talented women.

She noted: "However, a shift in the behavior of men—and it is almost always men— at the heart of the music industry is the transformative change needed for talented women to quite literally have their voices heard and be both recognized and rewarded on equal terms."

Support for the report comes from various industry bodies, including Black Lives in Music and U.K. Music. Charisse Beaumont of Black Lives in Music validated the report's findings, emphasizing the challenges faced by Black women in the industry.

A spokesperson for CIISA mentioned that the organization, set to launch later this year, will be a "‘single front door’ for those working in the music industry — and across all the creative industries — to confidentially report unacceptable behavior and use this insight to raise awareness and tackle concerns directly."

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Image credits: SHUSTIKOVA INESSA on Shutterstock.

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