Media and Communications Manager
In 2011 Beyoncé released her hit song declaring girls run the world, but a new report has found that within the Australian music industry, this is certainly not true.
The report, Skipping a Beat report by the University of Sydney’s Women, Work and Leadership Research Group found gender-based inequality is rife in the Australian music industry. Women face disadvantage both in terms of who ‘makes it’ as a performing success story and who ‘makes the decisions’ impacting the industry.
Despite many Australian female artist success stories, the report found most occupations in the industry are still heavily skewed towards males, with females only representing a third of all employed musicians.
Associate Professor Rae Cooper said male artists and voices overwhelmingly dominate Australian radio playlists, festival line-ups, industry awards and major industry boards.
“When we look at the gender breakdown for more technical roles, such as sound engineering and music production, the gap becomes even wider,” said Associate Professor Cooper.
“Women in the music industry are not only confronted with a ‘glass ceiling’, but also ‘glass walls’, where women congregate in occupations and sectors where the majority of employees are women.”
The report also found female music artists received significantly fewer industry awards than their male peers, with only 20 female artists out of 367 musicians featured in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and only 11 of the 75 inductees into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Leadership positions are also scarce for women in the industry, with 83% of board positions in the four peak industry bodies held by men.
The authors of the report make a number of recommendations for achieving an even playing field for women and men in the industry, including:
- Collecting more data on a gender disaggregated basis
- Establishing a well-resourced independent gender equality industry advocacy body
- Increasing women’s representation in decision-making structures
The recommendations can be read in the full report, available on the Sydney University website.