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Parliament calls for urgent action as women in music face widespread misogyny, discrimination and harassment

Following an in-depth investigation, the Women and Equalities Committee has published a damning report about misogyny in music, calling for concerted action by the industry and government.

Rebecca Ferguson at The Ivors 2022

The report has several key findings:

  • Sexual misconduct, including assault and harassment, are endemic in the music industry and often go unreported.
  • Career paths are hindered by lack of support, gender bias, and unequal opportunities. Self-employment is prevalent in the industry and exacerbates these challenges, leaving women vulnerable to exploitation.
  • Women facing multiple forms of discrimination experience intensified barriers and abuse.
  • There are persistent gaps between women’s and men’s earnings, even with increased representation.

The committee issued a series of recommendations to both the government and the music industry to address these issues.

Their recommendations to the government included:

  • Extending discrimination and harassment protections to freelancers, enforcing longer reporting periods, and bringing section 14 of the Equality Act into force to cover intersectional discrimination.
  • Reinstating requirements in the Worker Protection Act 2023 that require employers to protect workers from third-party harassment liabilities
  • Urgently prohibiting the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Making public funding and licensing of music venues conditional on the premises taking steps to tackle gender bias, sexual harassment and abuse

They called on the music industry to:

  • Increase diversity and inclusion by investing in talent development and create pathways for women in male-dominated sectors like A&R and sound engineering.
  • Provide data transparency on workforce diversity and gender pay gaps, and offer mandatory equality training for all organisations.
  • Improve working conditions through better childcare support, flexible work arrangements, and robust reporting procedures for harassment and abuse.
  • Facilitate safe spaces including ensuring adequate, separate dressing rooms for women and gender non-conforming musicians at live venues.

Rebecca Ferguson, Board Director of The Ivors Academy, who gave evidence to the Committee said:

“I welcome the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Committee and I look forward to the urgent recommendations being materialised into something that women in music can feel confident about. The opportunity is now there for a safer music industry. The report has carved a very clear and thought out path to change. Alongside many other women, I look forward to the government’s plan of action.”

The government’s response, expected within the next few months, will determine the path forward to tackle these systemic inequalities.

Much of the following action is likely to be taken on by the new Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), which should be ready to take cases later this year. The Ivors Academy will engage closely with CIISA to ensure that our members can understand what help and support will be available to them through this new body.

The committee also recommended that CIISA ensured that individuals who make reports are properly advised about their legal rights and to work with the Music Managers Forum to develop and oversee a mandatory accreditation programme for managers in the music industry.

Read the report


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