The music industry can do a lot more to tackle inequality, says Alison Wenham, and addressing the gender pay gap is a good place to start...
As the world fights a global pandemic, the continuing undervaluation of the contribution of women in the workplace persists like a bad smell. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the care industry, with the tireless and selfless efforts of a large army of women looking after the sick and dying in our hospitals and care homes chronically underpaid, relative to their crucial contribution to society’s health and well-being. Many are now leaving to get better paid jobs as sales assistants and waitresses… Go figure. The extraordinary disconnect between role, responsibility and reward is nowhere more sharply highlighted than here.
The music industry’s pay inequality seems like a mere footnote to this bigger picture, and without doubt, as an industry, we are not alone in trying to address and correct decades of pay inequality.
This business is finally waking up to the benefits of embracing neurodiversity, and that of course includes women. We bring perspectives and insights to management issues which are different from those of a male brain, and with that, better decisions are reached for the benefit of the company and all its stakeholders. Isn’t this the primary responsibility of management?
As the world fights a global pandemic, the continuing undervaluation of the contribution of women in the workplace persists
To persist in believing otherwise is to deny the stakeholders the best possible team to run their company, is outdated and will eventually fail. The new generations coming into the music industry are more diverse, more exciting, better equipped to work seamlessly with consumer trends, and will lead the way, I’m convinced, in ridding the industry of old guard attitudes of hierarchy which have created the imbalances of status and reward for women. And indeed to anyone not built from the cookie-cutter model from which their bosses emanated.
The 2021 Music Week Women in Music Awards celebrated this neurodiversity magnificently and has proved to be a wonderful way to honour the achievements of our non-male colleagues. The power in the room was palpable. This was the moment when women looked at each other and realised the common denominator that binds us all: that of having struggled against years of discrimination, and yet still succeeded.
We look forward to a time when these Awards no longer need to exist – indeed, the fact that the ceremony needed to exist at all in the 21st century is perhaps the saddest reflection of our industry’s progress, and the journey ahead.
I hope we end this year with our heads held high and the measurable acknowledgment of our contribution in the workplace no longer marginalised, but placed centre stage and celebrated. In years to come, women of a certain age, race, or sexual orientation will no longer need to look over their shoulder and worry about these facts of nature, as it will be the quality of our work by which we are judged, and nothing else. You all know the stats, now please fix the pay gap.