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Shaping the Future, Paving the Way: Manifesto For Change (Part 1)

Guest post

Julia Payne, Director at The Hub:

On 28 March, as part of the Musicians’ Union 2019 Women in Music conference, I was privileged enough to facilitate a session called Shaping the Future, Paving the Way.

Kicking off with a few thoughts from Jen Hingley from False Advertising, and Sidonie B Hand-Halford and Esmé Dee Hand-Halford from The Orielles, our focus was on the future and on a more accessible music industry.

Over 90 minutes, what unfolded was an incredibly positive conversation between around 40 amazing, generous and talented women about the change we’d like to see in the industry, and what we could do together to create a more female-friendly music industry.

Here’s Part 1 of our made in 90 minutes manifesto for change, outlining the changes participants want to see in the music industry.

The change we’d like to see is...

Equality please!

  • Everyone being treated equally, regardless of race, sex, sexuality or any other factor
  • Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of their background, and everyone is treated the same
  • Women being treated with equality and respect
  • A gender neutral approach, where decisions are based on the quality of the music
  • Less focus on image
  • Respect and representation for all
  • Women are equal and it’s accepted that our gender doesn’t mean we are less able/not able to be a musician
  • Women are no longer patronised on the basis of who they are biologically (eg. references to PMS)

More support for parents

  • Better childcare and parenting support for freelancers as well as employees
  • More support for parents
  • More support for women who have caring roles that they have to juggle
  • Women better supported when they have a family – options not assumptions
  • Flexible working and support re childcare
  • Help for female musicians who are mothers

More women working across the whole of the industry

  • More female technicians, engineers, managers and label managers
  • More women across all roles in the industry – from musicians to sound techs, label managers etc – who are not treated differently by their male peers
  • More females in the music business, working as labels, agents and managers etc
  • For it to a the norm for women and people of marginalised genders to work in any area of the music industry
  • More women working on the technical side of things (eg. as engineers)

More women in positions of power, fostering a culture of collectivism and collaboration between women

  • See more women in positions of power within the industry
  • Established female musicians helping emerging artists to develop their confidence, perhaps in schools
  • Women working together collectively more, to create great things
  • More women supporting women in all aspects of the industry…a collective of alpha females who promote and support each other
  • More women able to take charge of their careers and get more gigs

More female-focused funding and support

  • More support and funding for mature female musicians
  • More funding and training for women
  • More support for women in the industry in terms of how to run a business
  • Coaching and training available to help women develop their confidence
  • More production and music industry training for women

A more female-friendly/centric music education system, plus better careers education

  • More non males encouraged to study music
  • Better and more women role models, more female-centric curriculum and wall spaces in schools
  • More music in schools
  • More education at an early age, to show women there are a variety of jobs in the music industry, not just being a musician/performer
  • More young girls encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the industry
  • Access to live music for people of all ages

More gender balanced programming

  • Better gender balance in festival line ups
  • Fewer male dominated festival line ups, as they prevent women from having strong female role models
  • More women or bands with women in them getting bookings – across the board, but especially in festival line ups

More encouragement to make music

  • More encouragement for women to make music
  • More mixed gender bands to ensure there’s less of a divide

Less hate, more love

  • Less discrimination, neglect, abuse, bullying, harassment
  • For there to be less competition between women in the industry

Julia Payne is Director of The Hub, a social enterprise that develops new thinking and practice in the creative sector. @CuriousJuliaP

The MU and shesaid.so have combined forces to support women in the industry by matching fellow musicians together, to help one another grow and succeed in their careers. Find out more about the she.grows mentoring scheme and how to get involved.


Published: 05/04/2019

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