Features March 15, 2016

Women of the Aus music industry call for gender equality

Former Editor

The theme for the 2016 International Women’s Day is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.

Inspired by the theme and all women in the local music industry, TMN put the following question to a few women promoting gender parity and contributing to the advancement of women in the workplace:

What kinds of intervention do you think are necessary in order to effect a positive change for women in Australia’s music industry? 

 

Jane Huxley
Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand at Pandora

Over the last few years there has been great light shed on the inequity of pay, promotions, and opportunities offered to women frankly in most industries, so firstly I’d like to think that we have ruled out ignorance as a root cause. 

My views is that the best interventions occur when we partner with amazing men to prove that our differences, when working together, can achieve better results than working alone.

There are plenty of incredible, supportive men (many, but not all of whom have strong wives, and growing daughters) right under our noses who are ready to champion and cheer women. We need to “name and fame” them and ensure that the stories of success are both positive and enduring, and provide role models for the next generations.

 

Kate Vale
Managing Director, Spotify Australia and New Zealand

It’s important to me to be (and be part of) a business that is a true equal opportunity employer, that both encourages and enables a balanced work/life environment that is fair for men and women. We want Spotify to lead the way here and that’s why we recently introduced a best-in-class paid parental leave policy. We’ve already had a number of businesses reach out asking how they can do something similar; they have recognised the value in it, and the positive on flow effect this can have to their business, their staff, and the industry.

Maggie Collins
Managing Director at Fans Creative Mgmt

There are a lot of women in support roles in the music industry and what would be interesting is research surrounding why that is the situation. I would like to find out whether women in those positions are striving for more senior roles, or whether there is a lack of motivation/desire to do so. I would like to hear stories from these women on when they’ve tried to get into those roles, whether it has or hasn’t worked, and why they think they were/weren’t successful. The same thing goes for women branching out and starting their own companies.

 

Julia Kosky
Entertainment Lawyer, Brett Oaten Solicitors

That’s a pretty gigantic question, worthy of many, many research papers by people far smarter and more qualified than me to provide insight. However, I think recently it has been brought to light how prevalent sexual harassment and assault of women in the music industry has been and that there has been a culture of trivialising these incidents.  There is nothing trivial about this. It is a crime and those responsible should be held accountable.  More importantly we can all, both men and women, in the industry change this by taking a zero tolerance approach to this kind of behaviour.

On a positive note, given that success and access in the music industry still relies heavily on networks, increased mentoring and networking opportunities can effect a positive change for women in Australia’s music industry.

  

Vicki Gordon
Company Director & Creative Producer, Vicki Gordon Music Productions PTY LTD

Women need to be empowered into record label executive, production, management and decision making roles and must be equally represented on the boards of our independent and major peak bodies. To their credit, APRA AMCOS have recently moved to address this. People have learnt to speak in a non-sexist manner and know how to make the right noises of agreement, but the real test is in what is actually done and what real changes are made.

Women also need to understand the power of supporting one another. Little change has been documented for women in the Australian Music Business since the 90’s, we have a lot of work to do!

 

Emily Collins
Executive Officer, MusicNSW

The only way we’re going to have an industry that reflects the diversity of our society is if our industry leaders genuinely commit to change. I’d love to see the industry work together to foster the next generation of female trailblazers and tastemakers by offering official mentorship programs in programming and curatorial roles for emerging female industry professionals.

 

Sophie Kirov
Touring Operations, Future Classic

I don’t necessarily believe that any specific intervention needs to happen per se. Women have already cemented their place in the modern fabric of the Australian music industry; they’re publicists, agents, artist managers, label managers, promoters, artist liaisons, touring crew, and every role in between. The past decade has seen a groundswell of women moving into roles that were previously filled by men, and that’s not slowing down any time soon. 

I believe the key however as we continue to move in this positive direction, is to breakdown the flawed mentality that this industry is a man’s world, especially for the next generation of young women waiting in the wings. We need women breaking through the glass ceiling and moving into managerial roles. We need women to receive recognition both in the media and amongst their peers for their achievements. We need women to be respected for their skill set and character, not their gender.

Most importantly, we need to all work together to remove the stigma associated with being a woman in the music industry, and in turn, inspire other industries to follow suit. Women are already here getting the job done, it’s just time to make sure everyone knows.

Bridie Connellan
Marketing Director, Universal Music Australia  

I think we need less ‘intervention’ per se and more social education beyond the music industry. It is completely unreasonable for both the music industry and society itself to expect women to act “like men” in order to be “successful”. We are different; we lead, work, create, aspire and communicate in different ways as humans/genders and as soon as we acknowledge this we can stop penalising women for not fitting into a patriarchally-structured industry — or holding them up to the expectations of (and therefore judgment of failure of) male “achievements” and “wins”.

Also women, support women. Don’t be That Guy.

 

Gem McCormack
Founder, Reservoir Records

The Australian music industry needs a big push for equal opportunity on music industry boards and executive positions. Women need to be visible and accounted for. Like any professional industry, there is strength in leading from the top by a great example. 

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