"Sexual harassment needs to be addressed": The Women In Music Roll Of Honour on the changes they want to see in the biz

In the new issue of Music Week, we celebrate the 12 industry game changers who are being inducted onto the Roll Of Honour at this week's Music Week Women In Music Awards, and this year’s list could be the strongest yet. Inside the issue, across a staggering 14 pages, we present you with interviews with 12 of the most important names in the biz right now, ranging from A&R and labels to publishing, live and beyond. Yesterday (November 7) we asked the latest inductees about the biggest challenges they have overcome and the ones they are currently facing. This time, we’re asking them to identify the one change they would like to make to benefit women in the music industry…

Vick Bain, CEO, BASCA

“Give equal pay – that is for both those in the business workforce and the creative side too; the producers, musicians, songwriters and composers.” 

Lara Baker, marketing and events director, Association Of Independent Music (AIM)

“Picking one isn't possible! The gender imbalance in the music business has so many different causes which all require different remedies. I have called on industry conferences to reflect diversity in their programming and I'd like to see festivals prioritising the same. There needs to be better maternity and paternity provisions and flexible working options to prevent women leaving the industry to have a family. Companies need to consider their hiring and promoting practices and address unconscious bias to encourage diversity at senior levels. And sexual harassment needs to be addressed so this isn't a hostile world for women to work in. We also need to work hard on the bigger diversity picture, not just gender equality, but how the industry treats those from BAME backgrounds, the LGBTQ community, people of different social backgrounds, those with disabilities and so on. The more inclusive and diverse we are as an industry, the more we'll thrive. There's a lot to do, but I feel positive about the industry's appetite for change.” 

Annette Barrett, managing director, Reservoir/Reverb Music

“I feel there is a need for more serious mentoring and forum programs for young people. There is definitely a movement to do more and Women In Music is certainly leading the way, but I think globally we could do more and really help the women execs of tomorrow navigate their way through this ever-changing landscape.”

Karma Bertelsen, marketing manager, Kilimanjaro Live

“Create more opportunities for women of all backgrounds to enter the music industry (and encourage them to do so).”

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO, Attitude Is Everything

“The one thing I would ask is [that people] pay attention, listen to us, respect us for who we are and for us to be taken seriously, that’s the root of it. All I asked in a room full of people at the beginning was, ‘Can you listen to me, I’ve got something to say, I’ve got evidence and I’ve got skills, please give me a go’. At the Deptford festival I just rocked on up and they were like, ‘Oh, you’re disabled’. But there’s no doubt they were thinking, ‘Wow, this is gonna be interesting’. It’s perceptions of what we can do that’s holding women back.” 

Karen Buse, executive director, membership and international, PRS For Music

“Organisations need to accept there is an issue, actively listen and act. I would like to see women who have had success do more to help other women on the ladder and for organisations to give women the time, space and support to do that through formal and informal mentoring programmes, women’s network events, women spotlight events etc.” 

Amber Davis, A&R director, Warner/Chappell Music

“I think it would be helpful for women in all lines of work if the government pushed for more transparency around the gender pay gap across all sectors. I think when everyone can clearly see the size and shape of any problems, they become easier to solve.”

Michelle Kambasha, head of press, Secretly Group

“Listen to women. Elevate women’s voices. Also, understand that women of colour have unique experiences that separate them from other white women. Once we realise there are differences, we’ll be more equipped to address imbalance.”

Gemma Reilly, director, UK marketing, BMG 

“More women in A&R departments.”

Caroline Simionescu-Marin, A&R manager, XL Recordings; co-founder, New Gen

“I think there’s already a lot to be done to benefit and recognise women in the music industry. I think the main thing would be to ensure men and women are treated as equals and to push for more female CEOs.”

Leah Stockford, senior marketing director, RCA

“It is important to have more female role models as part of your everyday working life and make sure that women have support around them.”

Caryn Tomlinson, SVP, communications, Universal Music Group

“I heard that an MP recently said, 'When we are asked to join a board, we should question the make up of the existing executives.'  I think that review should include gender, cultural diversity and age. We could adapt that idea for our businesses by remaining conscious when setting up meetings, project teams and around inviting guests to high profile events, think twice about whom you're involving.”

The annual Women In Music event will be hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine on Friday, November 10 at our new, larger venue, The Brewery In London. The last few remaining tickets are available here, with a record crowd already guaranteed. 

Music Week works closely with our partners UK Music, AIM and WIN to celebrate the most important and influential women from all sectors of the music industry at the awards, which are now in their fourth year. 

The winners of the main awards will be unveiled at Friday's ceremony, hosted by Radio 1's Alice Levine, where categories being contested include three new ones – Music Champion, International Woman Of The Year and The Company Award: Diversity In The Workplace. The others are: Businesswoman Of The YearOutstanding ContributionInspirational ArtistCampaignerRising Star and New Artist Award

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