It’s no secret that within the music industry sexism still runs rampant, an unfortunate hard-to-swallow pill that all of us have to face when we talk about female representation in music, as well as the lack of career opportunities available. It’s less about the lack of opportunity, and more so about the perceived notion that women (female-identifying) are not “up to standard” when it comes to success in the industry, and are often completely glossed over out of discrimination; whether it be female musicians poorly represented in festival lineups, or the depressing reality that women behind the scenes (such as sound engineers, writers, producers…) are barely acknowledged.
It must be noted that festival organisers have recently been making more of an effort to increase female representation, such as making sure musical acts are at least 50 / 50 when it comes to lineups and further empowerment by women working in the industry to lift up their fellow co-workers. However, the issue goes beyond famous female performers, as mentioned before: there are many working behind the scenes who are not recognised, celebrated or given the opportunity to succeed based on gender discrimation.
Recently, there have been incredible programs made available to empower female-identifying individuals working in the music industry, with the latest being The New York Office Of Media And Entertainment (MOME) offering an incredible $500,000 in grants to empower female-identified professionals in the industry. This week, it was announced by NYC mayor’s office that up to $20,000 will be allocated toward female-identifying applicants in order to cover costs for everything from recording to production. The senior executive director for MOME, Shira Gans, stated:
“We didn’t want it just to be about female musical acts, we wanted to make sure we were really promoting projects that had a female credit for writers, engineers and producers.“
Applications opened on July 10th, and will be closed on October 1st. For those wanting to apply, one can view all the relevant details on by clicking here. This initiative is a fantastic step in the right direction, with incredible opportunities available to all women working in the industry who do not have the funds to pursue their professional careers, and for those who are underrepresented in the professional work environment.
MOME and The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre are not the only initiative working toward supporting women in the industry, with programs such as Women’s Audio Mission and She Is The Music working toward inclusivity, job placement, training and more within the industry. This provides real opportunities to lift up, support and empower women as working professionals in the industry; real representation, acknowledgement for the hard-working women who deserve to be celebrated for their work.
Although we have a long way to go, seeing initiatives such as these working to break down sexual discrimination in the music world is exciting, and with such incredibly talented individuals who have before been pushed to background finally getting the opportunities they deserve is a fantastic step in the right direction.
Words by Jenna Dreisenstock