Every year around March, the internet is inundated with pieces on feminism, gender equality, the atrocities faced by many women around the world and the beauty of the perfectly imperfect female form thanks to International Women’s Day. The complexity of what it means to be a woman and the multi-faceted issues women encounter daily is a matter that seems no clearer now than it was 5, 10 or 30 years ago. Have we made strides as women in that time? Yes, there is no doubt that there have been wins for women as a whole in society, but one industry that seems to lag painfully behind is the music industry.
I’ve seen first hand the double standard that is still very much present in the industry. I’ve seen men treat female fans like objects, I’ve been shocked to see female managers treated like children by incompetent venue owners, I’ve witnessed female artists fight to have their creativity heard and I’ve cringed as some women relish being the worst enemies of other women. Wait, is this 2016 or 1986? This is the question I find myself wondering all too frequently as I navigate the music industry as a publicist, writer, event curator and artist manager. Could it be that men still need to come to terms with seeing women as their equal and accept that women may actually be knowledgeable about music too? Perhaps this is the case when it comes to men who come from an older generation (sadly, who still seem to be at the top), but it certainly seems that millennial men are more open to embracing the growing role of women in the music industry.
Another question though, is why aren’t more women in positions of power in music? A recent study by triple j’s Hack found that only 30% of board members on peak music bodies in Australia are female and that songs featuring women make up just 39% of the radio station’s playlist (welp!). Even more frightening, is that the Top Ten of the Billboard Power 100 is made up entirely of men. What kind of message is all of this sending to young women? How can young girls feel like music is a viable option for their career if they don’t see other women in those positions? How can we ‘normalise’ women in various roles in music, if it’s still a rarity? I have many questions, but few answers, so I decided to have a chat with some boss women in the music industry who truly inspire me and are changing the game. Trust me, its not all doom & gloom, there is a light off in the distance and these talented beings will prove that it’s getting brighter! Here’s what they had to say about where they would like to see women in music in the very near future.