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International Keychange Initiative results in Manifesto For Change to be launched at European Parliament today

The groundbreaking, international Keychange initiative led by the UK's PRS Foundation launches a manifesto to unite the music industry, national governments, European Parliament and European Commission in positive action towards gender parity and a stronger future for music.

Today, PRS Foundation's Keychange initiative takes another landmark step towards achieving its goal of encouraging agender balanced music industry worldwide. In collaboration with Keychange festival partners, Vanessa Reed (CEO of PRS Foundation and BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour's 3rd Most Powerful Woman in Music 2018) will present a manifesto for change at the European Parliament in Brussels, with the aim of increasing and sustaining representation of women in the music industry. 

Outlining the current gender gap in music, this manifesto is formulated from the achievements, ideas and suggestions of Keychange partners and participants which include 60 emerging female artists and innovators and 7 festivals from Europe and Canada who've been working together over the past 18 months.

You can read the full manifesto online here

The set of recommendations which Keychange partners will propose at an event hosted by European Parliament today call for collective action in response to challenges in four core areas which need addressing, according to Keychange participants, to achieve gender equality. These are:

Working conditions and lack of senior role models - 
Addressing recruitment, remuneration, career development and sexual harassment policies in a male-dominated workforce

Investment - Making more funds available, from the industry and public sector at national and European level, for targeted programmes which empower underrepresented artists and industry professionals

Research - commissioning an independent analysis of the current gender gap, including an economic impact study of companies with increased female participation

Education - promoting role models and career campaigns in schools which tackle gender stereotypes and diversify career options for young men and women.

Originally set up as a talent development programme for 60 artists and innovators, Keychange has quickly become a global movement for festivals which want to demonstrate their commitment to achieving a better gender balance across their stages for the next generation of artists and fans. The programme has demonstrated the positive impact of targeted investment in female talent and the demand for change amongst the current generation of artists and music industry professionals forging a career in music. 

Since launching in September 2018, over 140 festivals have signed the Keychange pledge towards achieving a 50/50 gender split across line-ups, conferences and commissions by 2022. 

On this landmark occasion for Keychange, Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation and Founder of Keychange, said:
Launching this manifesto at an event which brings together Keychange participants, MEPs, the European Commission and music industry bodies is an important way of demonstrating how far we've come since we launched Keychange in September 2017 with funding from the European Commission's Creative Europe programme. 
Alongside the overwhelming interest in the Keychange Festival pledge, the
manifesto  highlights  the valuable contributions Keychange artists and innovators are making to the wider reaching debate about what needs to change in the industry. Collaborative action and a wholesale look at how we can nurture and sustain a broader range of talent in our workforce underpins  their proposals.  I hope this first set of recommendations provides a powerful starting point for further debate  about the best practical steps towards tangible and lasting improvements which will benefit everyone.
Alex Schulz, Reeperbahn Festival Director said:
As a Keychange partner, it's been great to see how quickly awareness has spread amongst festivals across the world who've joined in with our collective pledge towards gender equality. As many of our events are at the same time market-places for talents, this pledge will definitely change the gender balance among the next generation of headliners. The manifesto gives us a chance to reflect on challenges across other parts of the music industry which impact on the female artists and industry pros we're supporting. I hope the manifesto's recommendations will stimulate further collaboration between the industry, governments and the European Commission, and that we start to see more companies nurturing and benefiting from the full breadth of talent which could be contributing to music in Europe.

Helen Sildna, Director of Tallinn Music Week said:
The future success and relevance of the music industry depends on innovation and our ability to collaborate and adjust to a fast changing environment. That will only come from diverse teams –  empowerment of next generation and novel ideas as well as more opportunities for talent from all backgrounds to operate in flexible and sustainable working environments. Supporting women to boldly choose their path and career in music is a way to both upgrade the industry as well as to create next generation role models in a society, based on equal opportunities. We were proud to achieve a gender balance at our conference this year and feel its just a kick-off to a new generation music industry – fit for the 21st century – ready to innovate, flourish and offer the exquisite form of artistic self expression that music is, to audiences across Europe and the globe. 

The main points presented in Parliament will include:

  • the importance of continuing to raise awareness of the gender gap in music, presenting statistics that have come as a surprise to people from outside of the industry

  • the impact of targeted programmes like Keychange, showing how investment in female talent from the industry and public sector can massively impact artist and innovators' careers

  • recommendations for broader actions that the industry and governments could be takingto increase the number of women in the workforce and strengthen the music industry's future as audience expectations continue to change.

Recommendations include gender pay gap reporting across Europe (following UK and Iceland's approach), codes of best practice for industry boards, increased scrutiny of European funding's consideration of gender criteria, testing of more targeted investment for under-represented groups and a joint economic impact study and policy review led by European Parliament.

For all of the recommendations read the Manifesto here.

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