Society Magazine

We Need To Address The Music Industry’s Gender Gap

Posted on the 25 March 2016 by Juliez
We Need To Address The Music Industry’s Gender Gap

Female musicians rock.

“I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if I did this by accident and I’m gonna flounder without them,” the Canadian singer Grimes wrote in a now-infamous tumblr post about sexism she has experienced. “I have the best job in the world but I’m done with being passive about any kind of status quo that allows anyone to suffer or to be disrespected.”

Though Grimes wrote this in 2013, it seems little has changed. Although Lana Del Rey made the cover of the issue featuring the list, of the 127 artists featured on last year’s Billboard Power 100 List, only 15 were female. Less than 5% of established producers in the world are women. Only 6% of women in the music business earn more than £29,000 per year whereas 22% of men do, according to the Guardian. Roughly 68% of all music-industry based jobs are occupied by men, according to a University of Warwick study and PRS for Music reported that only 13% of 95,000 songwriters and composers are female.

As the founder and editor of the alternative music site Coastal Beats Media, I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the sexist perspectives and gender constructions that pervade this world. Of the many music submissions I received last month, 30 were all-male and 2 all-female. I’ve had artists ask me, “How is it that a pretty girl like you runs a cool music site?” and have had bands tell me to “be careful” and “watch out” for older men in rock bands.

Even when discrimination isn’t blatant, I find I have to actively look for women in the industry. When I research up-and-coming musicians and type “guitarist,” “drummer,” “band,” or even “musician” into Google, images of men and articles about male artists fill my screen. I have to actively address an artist’s gender and type in “female rock bands” or “female guitarist” to find women making waves, even though I believe an artist’s gender should never precede her talent and that doing so undermines her position in the arts.

Those in the music industry and address this gender gap, however,  byactively try to support female musicians. We can all play a part by recognizing that all music matters and talent deserves to be recognized, no matter a musician’s gender.

But this is a problem beyond a single industry. Stereotypes are not just stereotypes. Mistreatment of a female artist is more than an isolated act. Gender gaps like the one in the music industry are evidence of a universal problem of sexism. We must be the change that the music industry, and the entire world, needs to see.

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