international womens day 2022

It’s 8 March: International Women’s Day, with the theme of this year’s global event being #BreakTheBias. As in previous years, there is a flurry of initiatives, activism and research announcements both within the music industry and more generally.

We’re collecting the music news in this post, which will be updated throughout the day. Meanwhile, at the bottom there’s our summary of some recent research on diversity, equity and inclusion in the music industry, and links to some of the organisations working hard in this area.

International Women’s Day 2022 – Music News

Some online events first: At 3pm today, PRS for Music is getting together with Classic Album Sundays for an Instagram Live stream celebrating women in the audio and production world. Tune in at 3pm UK-time on PRS’s Instagram profile.

Later in the day, the Music Managers Forum’s US, Canada and Mexico arms are holding their own virtual event, including a talk with Water & Music’s Cherie Hu and Westcott Multimedia’s Kristin Grant, and networking. It starts at 3pm New York-time and you can register here for free.

At 4pm PST Eva Longoria Baston will be the host for a Twitter Space focusing on women and the future of web3, presented by Autograph.

London’s The Halley Space is teaming up with Sisu Crew for a livestream of four DJs, which kicks off at 6pm UK-time.

Annie Lennox’s NGO The Circle is holding an International Women’s Day online event at 8pm UK-time, with a mixture of discussion, films and music performances, with a donate-what-you-can ticket price.

Hear Her Empower Her campaign image

As for other news…

The Circle is also launching a campaign called ‘Hear Her, Empower Her‘ to support women globally, bringing together films and stories form Uganda, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the UK and other countries.

Apple Music has a range of IWD programming going on across its playlists and Apple Radio stations, with its ‘Alt Boundary Breakers‘ and ‘The Sound‘ playlists among those focusing on women artists today, and a number of radio shows marking the day. Apple says it will be featuring more albums, radio specials and music videos throughout March.

Amazon Music is releasing two new Amazon Original tracks by Nova Twins and Tamera as part of its International Women’s Day activities. There is also a collection of playlists focusing on women artists,

Fortuitous timing for the UK’s Musicians’ Union, whose members have elected Naomi Pohl as its general secretary. She’s the first woman to hold that role since it was founded… in 1893. “After the toughest imaginable two years for musicians, there is plenty of work to do. We can improve pay for our employed and freelance members post-pandemic, tackle the impact of Brexit and fix streaming,” said Pohl. “We will also ensure we meet the objectives set out in the MU Equality Action Plan, in the UK Music Diversity Ten Point Plan, and we will continue our vital work to eliminate discrimination and harassment from the industry.”

Impala is highlighting a range of ‘initiatives inspiring change‘ today: networks, playlists, podcasts and more.

Streaming radio app Gimme Metal has a day of women DJs, including guest slots from several bands, and one slot promising “Ginger Vitus’ ‘Ladies Fuckin Shred Vol. 1′”.

Creator tools and production library firm Artlist has launched a Women Creator Fund, with cash grants, equipment and mentoring for three women who submit an idea for a video project they’d like to make. More details here.

Recent Research

The USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative has been a key source, with its report in June 2021 suggesting that in the industry “as power increased, the percentage of women in executive roles decreased significantly” – and also noting that within that “the path to influence in music looks very different for white women and women of color”.

Last March’s ‘Be The Change’ report from Midia Research and TuneCore surveyed women artists, songwriters and producers about the challenges they face in the music industry, finding nearly two thirds citing sexual harassment and objectification as barriers, along with ageism, lack of access to industry resources, and lower pay.

Meanwhile, European indie body Impala published its annual diversity and inclusion report in October 2021, outlining the progress made by its members.

From the UK, there was UK Music’s ‘Moving The Dial on Diversity’ report in November, offering a progress update on gender, racial and other aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry; and Women in CTRL’s updated study of the diversity (again, across multiple aspects) of the industry’s representative bodies.

There is also work being done to study gender bias within the recommendation engines of music services.

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