New Research Shows “Chronic Gender Inequality” in the Australian Music Industry

Image Credit: tajetteohalloran
Jasmine Crittenden
| July 31, 2017

New research from the University of Sydney Business School, initiated by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and conducted March-July 2017, has revealed “chronic gender equality” in the Australian music industry. Published by Associate Professor Rae Cooper, Dr Amanda Coles and Ms Sally Hanna-Osborne, the paper, titled “Skipping a beat: assessing the state of gender equality in the Australian music industry”, has found that “male contributions and voices” dominate radio playlists, festival line-ups, industry awards, peak bodies and major industry boards.

The report’s key findings include:

  • 45% of qualified musicians and music students are women, yet they make up just one-fifth of Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) membership
  • triple j’s Hottest 100, an annual countdown of the nation’s most popular songs, consistently features more women than men
  • Male acts tend to dominate festival line-ups
  • Female musicians earn less than male ones
  • Women are less Iikely to win major music awards, including ARIAs, AIRs and J Awards
  • Just 28% of “senior and strategic roles in key industry organisations” are held by women
  • Women are underrepresented on the boards of all national industry peak bodies and are completely absent from the ARIA and AIR boards

Five key recommendations are suggested, as follows:

  • the acquisition of more and better music industry data, based on gender
  • the establishment of an advocacy body dedicated that is independent and adequately resourced
  • the application of gender equality criteria to the allocation of public funding
  • an increase in the proportion of women in decision-making positions
  • the prioritisation of inclusivity and representation as core industry values, in order to address gender bias. This could include funding and training programs.

‘”Skipping a beat’ is designed to advance public debate on how to build an Australian contemporary music industry based on the principles of inclusivity, representation and belonging,” the report reads. The report is available in full over here.

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