CIAM and CISAC examine gender equality in music at Eurosonic

Recent years have brought about calls for research into gender representation in the creative and cultural industries. The music sector remains highly segregated by gender across numerous aspects including pay, leadership roles and festival appearances. At Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) on January 18th, CIAM and CISAC joined the key international music festival and conference for the panel “Pushing for change from within: how we move forward for gender equality in the music industry”.

Mirroring the 2018 CISAC General Assembly Women@CISAC panel, Dr Pauwke Berkers of the University of Rotterdam provided insight into his research for BUMA/STEMRA. The research is meant to serve as a basis for initiatives, such as Keychange, to improve the balance for women. Danish Composers Society General Manager Sine Tofte Hannibal reinforced Berker’s research by reporting that her society examined the live classical music repertoire in Denmark that showed less than 4% was written by women.

Regarding actions, as explained by PRS Foundation Project Manager Jess Partidge, Keychange is an international initiative which empowers women toward a more gender balanced future of music, and to encourage festivals to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. Another programme that was detailed was Señoritas on Fire. Founded by Natalia Vergara, it is a collective of female composers that seeks to promote female songwriters and singers worldwide. Natalia Vergara is also the Spanish Association of Women Music Creators (AMCE) President. AMCE was created to unify, dignify, increase visibility and the number of female music creators in Spain. It represents the interests of women composers and songwriters across genres, including symphonic, audiovisual, popular, jazz, flamenco and electronic music idioms.

Increasing the number of female creators’ works for music performances as well as increasing the data demonstrating the social impact have been essential to promoting change. This was explored at CIAM’s General Assembly in November in Mexico City, during a panel that proposed solutions included increasing the diversity of boards as well as in management and decision-making roles in companies and organisations.