Sexism rife in male-dominated music industry, report warns
Sexism remains a huge issue in today's music industry, according to a report on the challenges faced by female songwriters and composers.
A dearth of female role models and the pigeon-holing of women as performers and sexual objects rather than as writers and producers were cited by the report as evidence of the "gender barriers" in the industry.
The PRS Foundation, an independent funding body dedicated to the development of new music, interviewed recipients of its Women Make Music initiative, which awards grants and aims to raise awareness of the gender gap among songwriters and composers.
With 78% of interviewees to its survey saying that they had experienced sexism, the report said that the music industry remained a "challenging" environment.
Classical music composers highlighted a lack of female role models, while artists in other genres recognise "that the industry itself is male dominated".
The report said: "Lack of recognition of what women contribute and achieve within the music industry and the pressure on women to conform to an image of being beautiful and sexy were recurring themes in the interviews and surveys.
"The perception of most interviewed artists is that the music industry is still very male dominated. This is particularly the case 'behind the scenes' in production, where women creators are often working in all male environments...
"The lack of strong female role models and recognition of what women do and have achieved in music in the past, is a real issue in terms of shaping the ambitions and confidence of young women entering the industry."
Respondents said that "pressing for a greater gender balance among lecturers at music colleges and conservatories and studying more music by female composers is ... seen as essential" , with complaints that there had been "no compositions by women in the music curriculum" .
The findings of the report - the result of a survey with the 127 female songwriters, composers and producers who have applied for grants from Women Make Music - are being discussed with MPs, representatives of Arts Council England, BBC and the music industry.