It is no hidden secret that there is a big gender imbalance in the music industry. Not just in signed active musicians but in all aspects, from the musicians (both signed and freelance session musicians) to the technicians (live techs and in-studio engineers). As times change we are seeing a slight turn in some areas with women becoming more represented with Abbey Road Studios starting their own Abbey Equalise Programme which is woman lead to getting women into the industry.
Started by Equality campaigner Vick Bain, the ‘f.list’ is an online directory that has compiled a list of female musicians (from the unknown to the known) across all genres, locations, and a wide range of categories like bands, solo artists, and groups. Once entered you can see a short portfolio and biography of the artist(s) and their social media links. This means there is no excuse (not that there ever was) to no hire a woman.
Talking to the BBC Bain states “Now there is no reason for people to say, ‘it’s really difficult to find all these women,'”. Through Bain’s research, she found that “The problem for women in the UK music industry is they are still in the minority when it comes to professional work, only 20% of musicians signed to record labels are women and about 15% of festival headliners are women. So they don’t have much presence, professionally, even though they consist of nearly half of all music degree students.”
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Festivals have been coming under fire due to the lack of representation of female artists. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Little Mix where the only Female UK group scheduled as a headline act for UK festivals. Some artists have even stated they don’t want to perform until festivals are at least 50/50 split on gender representation. Matty Healy of the 1975 has come forward as one of the artists, saying, “time’s up” for any festival that doesn’t support women. The point is that Reading and Leeds with more women would be honestly the best festival in the world,”
Sitar player Anoushka Shankar who will be the president of the f.list directory has talked about her own experience with gender inequality, not being hired or looked into for work. She put forward her own views on why women are so often overlooked which is familiarity, people tend to book who they know, work with who they have in the past “It’s the relationships that people already have in music that will be the easiest path to tread, you’ll go back to the same guitarist, you’ll go back to the same bassist that you always worked with.”
— green haired slag (@lucyyy_mccourt) February 11, 2020