8M: Women in Music Continue to Fight for Equality

The inequality between men and women in music is still abysmal, but more and more are being heard. We tell you about the panorama in the music industry on this March 8.

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Photo: Cosmopolitan UK

LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: 8M: Las mujeres en la música siguen luchando por la igualdad

Every March 8, women from all over the world take to the streets to denounce the gender inequality that is constantly experienced in all sectors of our society. It is a historical inequality that has left behind alarming figures of gender and sexual violence, and of femicides. The music industry is no stranger to this reality that has silenced the work of millions of women. Despite the fact that at first glance the panorama may make us believe that there is currently more room for women in music because more and more artists are seen representing the racial and sexual variety of femininity; The truth is that, in the technical part, in what happens behind the scenes, women are still struggling to be recognized, occupy important positions and break the inequality gap in this industry that is also so competitive.

The Numbers of Women in Music

When it comes to musical composition, one of the most competitive jobs is that of film composition. John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman, Yann Tiersen; all these are names of just some of the most recognized film composers in the industry and in the world, all with masterpieces, all men. Lucía Caruso, Argentine composer and pianist, stated in an interview for UN News that women composers in the entire film industry occupy only between 2 and 3%, and that this means that out of every hundred composers only two or three are women.

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Women in Music is a non-profit organization made up of women who have been trained and work in all fields of music, from voice and instrument interpretation, through sound engineering, production, record management, the agency, the edition, the publicity, until the composition. According to data from the NGO, the music industry has a 70% presence of men, which means that women only occupy 30%. Furthermore, only 15% of record labels in the United States, one of the most important markets in the world, are owned by women. Likewise, the data shows that of the 600 most popular songs between 2012 and 2017, 22% were performed and 17% composed by women. These figures are not only very unequal, but are also permeated by other types of injustices that go beyond the inequality of job opportunities.

Neet Ragoowansi, director of the NGO, assured that "Discrimination, sexual harassment, the scarcity of opportunities for professional advancement, the salary gap, the lack of visibility, is something very common in the music industry, and of course, we are confronted with the common prejudices that exist against women”. As in the film industry, in the music industry we find that women suffer the same injustices and face greater challenges compared to their male counterparts for the simple fact of being women.

Women in Music Are Here to Stay

Despite the challenges implied by the inequality to which they are exposed, there are many women who work on a day-to-day basis to change the landscape and occupy more space in the industry. Women who also seek to recognize classical composers whose names were forgotten under those of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, among many more, all men, some misogynists, it goes without saying. United Voices 4 Peace, a European NGO, fights to recover these names of women in universal classical music and bring their compositions to life. The organization also seeks to recognize the work of contemporary female composers and musicians, who have been just as neglected as their predecessors.

Like United Voices 4 Peace or Woman in Music, there are many groups around the world that embrace women in the music industry and fight to move towards a scenario where conditions are fair and opportunities are equal. Likewise, there are many well-known artists who have turned their gaze and the themes of their songs to a fight with feminist cuts, denunciations of mistreatment inside and outside the industry and lyrics and rhythms that invite us to celebrate women, their sexuality and diversity.

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