Urgent Action Required to Tackle “Endemic” Misogyny Faced by Women in the Music Industry

By Gemma Cross


Leeds Conservatoire welcomes a new report from the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) on tackling misogyny in the music industry.

Patsy Gilbert, Vice Principal at Leeds Conservatoire said, “We strongly support this WEC report, and believe that all women should be able to work in a music sector which is free from misogyny and discrimination, whilst acknowledging that there is more to be done to tackle these issues. 

“Leeds Conservatoire is committed to creating an inclusive working and learning environment, and ensuring that its students and staff feel safe - physically, artistically and emotionally.  

“As an institution we will continue to work on addressing the gendering of instruments, roles and genres, and improving the visibility of and support for female role models. Work to date includes hosting female-led masterclasses in areas like production that are typically male-dominated, collaborating with The F-List on a panel event and social media takeover, helping to address the gender imbalance in jazz through involvement in Jazz North’s Jazz Camp for Girls, plus female-focused showcases in our specialist facilities.” 

WEC’s ‘Misogyny in Music’ report describes the industry as a “boys’ club” where sexual harassment and abuse is common, and the non-reporting of such incidents is high.  

It highlights that women still encounter limitations in opportunity, a lack of support and persistent unequal pay; and that these issues are intensified for women facing intersectional barriers, particularly racial discrimination. 

In addition, female artists are routinely undervalued and undermined, endure a focus on their physical appearance in a way that men are not subjected to, and have to work far harder to get the recognition their ability merits. 

The WEC, a cross-party committee of MPs, has made a series of strong and wide-ranging recommendations, and called on ministers to take legislative steps to amend the Equality Act. This would ensure freelance workers have the same protections from discrimination as employees and bring into force section 14 to improve protections for people facing intersectional inequality. 

The establishment of a single, recognisable body, the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) WEC’s report concluded will help to shine a light on unacceptable behaviour in the music industry and may reduce the risk of further harm. 

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP said, “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. 

“Our report rightly focuses on improving protections and reporting mechanisms, and on necessary structural and legislative reforms. 

“However, a shift in the behaviour 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 recognised and rewarded on equal terms.” 

Find out more about the report on the UK Parliament website

By Gemma Cross

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