Annie Mac: Men must help address ‘shocking' gender imbalance in music industry

The broadcaster is encouraging people to make a pledge to do one thing to help.

Annie Mac has said the “shocking” gender imbalance in the music industry is because positions of power are all occupied by men and they will be crucial in helping to fix the problem.

The radio DJ said women are “woefully under-represented” across all aspects of the business and called on people to make a pledge to help redress the imbalance.

She told the Press Association: “When you look at the stats it is still quite shocking because you hope, in 2019, surely it must be different at this point, but actually no, there is still so much work to be done.

“Every facet of the music industry is really imbalanced, so that can be from the gender pay gap, where women are earning 30% less than men overall in the industry, to just things like festival headliners, to the amount of chart-topping women, to the amount of women actually making records.

“There is nothing about gender that should stop women being successful in these jobs and I think the overall problem is the system within music industries led by men and dictated by men.

“There has never really been, up to this point, a reason for men to have to change and it’s starting to feel like more and more women are speaking out about it and learning these facts and seeing them and wanting to make a difference.”

Mac is backing the Smirnoff Equalising Music campaign, pushing for those in the industry to make one change that will help the cause.

She said: “If you’re a music fan and a consumer it’s about investing your hard-earned money, buying tickets to events that have a great representation of women on the line-up, that’s simple.

“Then within the music industry, from agencies to labels to publishing companies to live events companies, they can make a commitment to taking on more women at a lower level, make a commitment to having some sort of gender balance on events, not just on stage but also behind the scenes in terms of sound tech, stage management – there are so many worlds in music where women are woefully under-represented.

“There are not enough women in the music industry to make a difference, it’s going to have to be led by men, and what I am really hoping to happen is for a few big enterprises within music to come out and make a statement about it and then for everyone else to follow in that way.

“I do think men are going to really be intrinsic to this, in order to make it successful.”

Equalising Music has highlighted perceived imbalance in music, citing Keychange figures which claim a 30% pay gap at major music labels, majority male festival line-ups, and an overall 70% of those involved in the industry being men.

Discussing the gender imbalance on festival line-ups, she compared it to the absence of women from the BBC Radio 2 daytime line-up until last year.

She said: “Obviously Sara Cox and Zoe Ball are on mainstream daytime Radio 2 now, but there was over 20 years where there wasn’t a female-fronted daytime radio show on Radio 2.

“That is over 20 years on the biggest radio station in the country and we were being spoken to by men, and when that is all you’ve ever known, it’s kind of like, maybe there is some sort of normalisation to it.

“The really effective way of looking at the festival line-ups was when people started doing that thing where they would post the line-up and take away all the male names and just have the female names.

“I have personally emailed promoter friends of mine and agent friends of mine going, ‘Guys, this looks terrible, you are going to have to fix this up’, and they say, ‘We can’t find any women’, or, ‘They are all doing other festivals’, and my thing is you just have to work harder.

“You have to make a point of finding women and you have to be innovative about it and if you can’t get women on the top tiers then you have to make a point of finding women on the bottom tiers.”

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