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Article by LoveestiPhoto by Andi Kokk - Andikokk.ee
Although on the surface there are many talented female artists in the music industry, a glance at the statistics proves that the scales are still heavily skewed towards men and women are still significantly underrepresented. This is both from the aspect of salary figures, the compositions of groups performing at various festivals, as well as the aspect of being taken seriously.
The statistics show us the real picture: only 20% of the artists in 2020 in Billboard were women and there was a 29% average pay gap at major record labels in the UK. In February 2019, USC Annenberg released the results of a study that analyzed 700 of the world's most popular stories between 2012 and 2018 and found, among other things that 43% of the women interviewed for the study stated that they have not been taken seriously in some situations because of their gender and have had to work harder to prove themselves than their male counterparts. The problem is particularly severe when it comes to fields such as songwriting, producing and engineering.
Collecting data is important, the data can draw attention to inequality and support the work that needs to be done to improve the situation. Keychange, a Creative Europe project has collected a lot of data and found some critical points on what can be done to solve the problem.
What might be the reasons? What are the invisible obstacles?
Partly, the reason might be historical. Men have always been in leadership positions and women in assistant positions, and this understanding prevails in people's subconscious even today, which is why it is harder for women to prove themselves. In a patriarchal society, a woman is often seen first for her appearance and only then for her talent, and sexual harassment is not a myth, but a harsh reality
Also, there is a lack of self-confidence. Eva Ponomarjov (EE), head of employer brand and diversity at a telecommunications company Telia, founder of Future Heroes, has pointed to the fact that women live in the trap of striving for an ideal - if they are not 100% sure that they can do something, they would rather not do it. She also gave the example of a radio editor he knows, who has said that he must beg women to do interviews on the radio, while when he approaches men, the answer is often more like, "I was just wondering when you're going to call?”.
As an example of best practices, she pointed out that when talking about diversity and equality, men, different age groups and representatives of different cultural backgrounds must also be included, so that the discussion does not become to convert the believers. Often, work for equality fails precisely because it is done in a rather closed community.
So, what must be done to ensure gender equality in the music industry?
Together with their partners, Keychange wrote a Manifesto to call for collective action.
These recommendations relate to challenges in the following core areas:
Working conditions & lack of senior role models: Addressing recruitment, remuneration, career development and sexual harassment policies in a male-dominated workforce.
Investment: Making more funds available, from the industry and public sector at national and European levels, for targeted programs which empower underrepresented artists and industry professionals.
Research: Commissioning an independent analysis of the current gender gap, including an economic impact study of companies with increased female participation and efficacy studies of programs and activities to improve gender balance.
Education: Promoting role models and career campaigns in schools which tackle gender stereotypes and diversify career options for young men and women.
Supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Keychange is a global network and movement working towards a total restructuring of the music industry in reaching full gender equality, by encouraging festivals and music organisations to achieve at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond.
Keychange consists of partners collaborating from 12 different countries, working proactively to make this change. Each year, over 70 emerging artists and innovators from Europe and Canada will participate in international festivals, showcase events, collaborations and a programme of creative labs.
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