One third of women in music have experienced sexual harassment, report finds

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A new report, published by Help Musicians and the Musicians’ Union, has revealed that women are more likely to face discrimination, harassment and career barriers in the music industry.

51% of women in music said that they have faced discrimination due to their gender, with a third having experienced sexual harassment

Musicians Census’ fifth report, which surveyed a pool of 2,526 female musicians, found that “gender inequity is still a prominent, alarming issue in the music industry” — with 51% of respondents saying that they have faced discrimination due to their gender, and a third had experienced sexual harassment.

Findings highlighted several issues that women are more likely to face than men in the industry, including gender discrimination, sexual harassment, gender pay gaps and barriers to career progression.

According to the report, women are eight times more likely to experience discrimination than men and a third of women reported having been sexually harassed whilst working as a musician.

Read this next: 17 women shaping African dance and electronic music

On average, the report found that women in music earned nearly a tenth less than men despite being more likely to have a degree in music. 29% of women said family and child care were barriers to career progression and 27% said they didn’t earn enough to support themselves or their families.

Trends in the report suggest that “it’s still easier for women to forge careers in certain types of music” – such as classical and music theatre, while the largest disparity in pay was seen in UK Rap and dance music.

“Women make up just 29% of DJs and 24% of producers, and only 15% of live sound engineers and 12% of studio/mastering engineers are women” writes the report.

Read this next: The women who’ve shaped electronic music

In 2023, the two UK charities teamed up to conduct the first-ever Musicians Census, providing insight into issues musicians face in the industry. This year’s report has been supported by Nadia Khan, founder of Women in CTRL, a non-profit dedicated to advancing gender equality in music.

On the census findings, Nadia Khan said: “The findings of the latest Census report show there’s still so much work to be done to make sure that working as a musician is equitable for all”.

In 2022 Mixmag reported that Black women in music are likely to earn less than their white counterparts and face issues of racial abuse as well as gender discrimination, making Black women “the most disadvantaged across all areas of the music industry.”

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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