Music industry still a “boys club” where female artists face misogyny and abuse

The music industry is still a “boy’s club” where women and female artists are frequently subjected to sexual harassment and abuse, a new report has said.

The stark findings come courtesy of the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC), which warns that urgent action is needed to tackle the “endemic” misogyny faced by women.

Chaired by MP Caroline Nokes, the cross-party committee is now urging the government to introduce significant legislation, including amending the Equality Act so that freelance workers are protected from discrimination. They also suggest the prohibition of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases involving sexual abuse, harassment or misconduct. They also say it should include a moratorium to release those who have been gagged by NDAs.

Specifically, the report also included the testimonies of women who found that their career in the music industry is ended as a result of speaking out. Other women also recalled having to sit next to sexual abusers at industry events due to a “culture of silence” in the music industry.

As The Independent notes, the publication of the report comes after Ellie Goulding spoke out about the issue.

Guest-editing for BBC Radio 4 in December 2023, Goulding said there was always “a slight feeling of discomfort” when she walked into a studio alone with “one or two men”.

“I had to try and figure out if it was something going on in my own head and I just had that general sense of fear anyway… but then hearing so many other similar stories from female musicians and singers, I realised I wasn’t alone in it at all.”

Recognising the report, Industry body UK Music’s interim CEO Tom Kiel said: ““We recognise there is still more to do, that misogyny continues to exist and we are striving to bring about positive changes.

“We are working right across the sector to ensure the music industry is an inclusive place for everyone to work.”

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