Record labels should commit to regular publication of statistics on the diversity of their rosters to push back against “boy’s club”, says new report

The committee is also calling for changes to the Equality Act, plus the prohibition of NDAs in cases relating to sexual harassment or bullying.

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Image: Hitoshi Nishimura / Getty

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A new report from the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) has laid bare the realities of misogyny and gender inequality within the music industry, and has called for record labels to regularly publish statistics on the diversity of their creative rosters.

The Misogyny In Music report states that despite an increase in representation, women still encounter limitations in opportunity, a lack of support and persistent unequal pay. These issues worsen for women facing intersectional barriers, particularly racial discrimination.

Female artists are routinely undervalued and undermined, the report states, and are subjected to a focus on their physical appearance (in a way that men are not), and are having to work much harder to be recognised for their skills.

The committee has called on record labels to commit to a regular publication on the diversity of within their rosters, stating that all organisations of more than 100 employees should be required to publish data on the diversity of their workforce, plus gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

To summarise, the report further calls for change from the Government and music industry in the following areas:

  • Amend the Equality Act to ensure freelance workers have the same protections from discrimination as employees and bring into force section 14 to improve protections for people facing intersectional inequality
  • Legislation to impose a duty on employers to protect workers from sexual harassment by third parties (a proposal the Government initially supported and then rejected last year)
  • An increase in investment in diverse talent and more funding for the schemes that support it
  • Prohibition of the use of non-disclosure and other forms of confidentiality agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, bullying or harassment, and discrimination relating to a protected characteristic
  • Consideration for a retrospective moratorium on NDAs for those who have signed them relating to the issues outlined
  • Strengthened requirements for industry areas where harassment and abuse are known to take place (studios, music venues etc.)

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP says of the report, “Women’s creative and career potential should not have limits placed upon it by ‘endemic’ misogyny which has persisted for far too long within the music industry.

“Our report rightly focuses on improving protections and reporting mechanisms, and on necessary structural and legislative reforms. However, a shift in the behaviour of men – and it is almost always men – at the heart of the music industry is the transformative change needed for talented women to quite literally have their voices heard and be both recognised and rewarded on equal terms.”

Read the full report via the UK Parliament website.

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