FitzRoy’s #SelfieLeave campaign began two years ago and fights for the right for self-employed parents to take shared parental leave, just like employees. FitzRoy is a studio engineer and Music Producers Guild (MPG) board member, and at last week’s sixth edition of the Women In Music Awards, she urged the industry to “think about what they can do to ensure that women have just as much chance of success as men”.
FitzRoy is standing in the December general election for the Labour Party in the Croydon South constituency. Fittingly, she was introduced by Tom Watson, the party’s outgoing deputy leader.
“There’s nowhere I’d rather be that presenting this award to someone who’s done so much for the self-employed,” said Watson, who will step down as an MP in December.
“I’ve met many great campaigners in my years in politics, but it’s rare you meet someone with such natural flair as Olga,” he said. “Within 20 minutes of our first conversation, she’d convinced me that denying shared parental leave and pay to freelancers was a travesty.”
.@tom_watson presents @OlgaFitzRoy with the Campaigner Award and announces that she'll be standing in the upcoming election for Labour in Croydon South. Congratulations, Olga! #MWWIM pic.twitter.com/he6yOU3Lns— AIM UK (@AIM_UK) November 8, 2019
“It falls to me to thank you, Tom, on behalf of all of us here to thank you for everything you’ve done for the music industry and for the support you’ve shown for all of us. Thank you.
"Thank you also for the support you’ve shown me personally in my campaign and in politics. But this is the Women In Music Awards, so that’s enough about Tom. It’s a real honour to be recognised with so many amazing women, but we need to remember why we’re here. These awards exist to shine a light on people who’ve succeeded despite the many barriers to women in music. Vic Bain’s recent report, Counting Music, highlighted the extent of the problem. Only 14% of those signed to publishers are women, 20% of those signed to record labels are women. 18% of publishing CEOs are female and at the MPG only 13% of producers are female. The gender pay gaps in our industry, although improving, are still shameful.
"One aspect of this is of course the motherhood penalty and the unequal way in which we divide caring responsibilities. I’m trying to change this with my #SelfieLeave campaign to allow self-employed parents to share parental leave and I’m hopeful that whoever is in government after December 12 will change the law.
If you’re an A&R, listen to twice as many female acts as male, until you have 50/50 on your roster
"But we all need to do more. This room is full of successful and powerful people, I urge everyone here, when they go to work, to think about what they can do to ensure that women have just as much chance of success as men. If you’re an A&R, listen to twice as many female acts as male, until you have 50/50 on your roster. If some of your female employees have left after having babies, write to them and ask them for feedback. Were they supported on their return to work? Were their flexible working requests granted? Are you actively encouraging men in your companies to take paternity and shared parental leave or to work flexibly? Or is it always the women who need to make changes when they have children?
"Because if you’re not supporting men to parent, you’re making it harder for women. Finally, I’d like to thank some of the people who’ve supported the campaign over the past two years. UK Music, The MPG, The Musicians’ Union, Equity, Pregnant Then Screwed, Parents In The Performing Arts, Tracy Brabin, Tom Watson, Kevin Brennan, Jo Swinson, all of the volunteers that have helped out at our events and the 10,000 people who signed our petition. Thank you very much."
PHOTO: Paul Harries