It is undeniable that even though we are in 2023, the music industry is still very male dominated. One of the most valuable studies made on this matter was done in 2021 by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative across 119 companies in the music space and it shows some shocking statistics about the amount of women in executive positions in our industry.
As you can see from the info-graphic above, women are still struggling to achieve higher executive positions in the music industry and the number drops even more if we are taking into consideration the color of a woman's skin. The study does not refer to trans women, but I can only imagine that their voices are almost invisible in executive positions in the music industry.
As a CIS white woman who owns a music marketing company, I can't stop feeling extremely privileged if I compare myself to black and trans women who want to work in this space: the social and professional elevator is officially broken and the music industry is simply not evolving. Not only women struggle to achieve strong professional careers, but they also have to deal every day with misogyny, sexism and stupid behaviours.
As we are in the heart of the summer festival season (at least here in Europe) and since interactions between professionals are more face to face, I have decided to put together my top 3 rules that every man should follow when working with women in the music industry.
Even though the following points should be the very minimum in every workspace, I really want to stress how important they are for the music industry now more than ever.
Check out my 3 golden rules:
1 - Be respectful
Yes, respect should be your number one priority when working with women. There is a reason why they are where they are thanks to their academic studies, work ethic and professionalism. A woman working in the music industry probably had to work twice as hard as a fellow man in the same position, so make sure that you value her voice and listen to her. Show her the same respect that you would give to a male colleague and you will have an incredible strong minded ally that you can count on.
2 - Don't assume you know more
It did happened to me quite few times, to work with men who always knew something more than I did just because I was a woman. I have worked with incredible women in the music industry and I have learned much more from them compared most men. Women have the ability to create a solid village around them and they are much more diplomatic when it comes to problem solving.
Next time you undermine a woman, ask yourself if you would have done the same with a male colleague and re-evaluate your approach to the situation.
3 - Don't touch
Do I even have to say this one? Just don't touch us, please! We are neither your sisters nor your friends so avoid being too touchy-feely with your female colleagues and most of all, know your boundaries. Just because a professional woman is kind to you, it does not mean that she wants anything more than a working relationship. The last years we saw many women finally breaking the silence about men in the music business crossing the lines, sometimes with terrible consequences. Does not matter if you are a VJ, a stage manager or the main headliner of the event: keep your hands in your pockets.