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UK Government ‘Falling Short’ in Helping to Protect Women in the Music Industry

Harassment and Discrimination Allowed to Continue After Government Rejects Recommendations of the Misogyny in Music Report

BLiM & CIISA amd more respond to the Government’s inaction

CIISA cite BLiM's new survey YourSafetyYourSay, as “pivotal intervention”
 

Black Lives In Music (BLiM) responds to the government 'falling short’ in helping to protect women in the music industry against harassment and discrimination, despite hearing strong evidence from women, experts and organisations in the sector. Working closely with CIISABLiM today expresses concerns that the government’s inaction and oversight of the challenges faced by women in the industry is “disheartening” and “troubling”.

BLiM recently announced their ground-breaking new survey YourSafetyYourSay, investigating bullying and harassment in the music industry, as a key response to the parliamentary Misogyny In Music Inquiry. After becoming aware of shocking abuse, BLiM will use the anonymous survey to collect real world data, which will inform legislation and the work of the new Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA). The survey is backed by V V Brown, Nova Twins, The Ivors Academy, Kamille and Pirate Studios, who urge artists to share their experiences in the survey. Fill in the survey HERE, which needs to be completed in full.

CIISA cite BLiM's current survey YourSafetyYourSay, as “pivotal intervention” and vow to “work closely with BLiM in ensuring that the findings shape and influence CIISA's services.”

The Government has rejected recommendations to help protect women in the music industry from harassment and discrimination despite unequivocal backing from the creative industries watchdog CIISA and a myriad of voices speaking out across the sector.

Charisse Beaumont says - "Though it's heartening to see the government’s willingness to engage with the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), their oversight of the unique challenges faced by women in our sector is profoundly disheartening. To dismiss the need for the dual discrimination provision in the Equality Act 2010 as 'unnecessary' reveals a grave misunderstanding or, worse, a blatant disregard by the government. Intersectional discrimination is a harsh reality for countless women in our industry.

Every day at Black Lives in Music, we confront stories of abuse and harassment, silenced through the misuse of NDAs. It's imperative that the government enact laws specific to the creative sectors to safeguard victims. Prevention is undeniably more effective than a cure. The Women and Equalities Select Committee, through their report, has devised a blueprint to address these issues proactively. We need a government that moves beyond deadlock and actively protects all workers in the music industry.

We're spearheading a survey at Black Lives in Music to put an end to the pervasive bullying and harassment within the creative sectors. As James Baldwin said, 'Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.' We need everyone’s voice in this fight. The more we share stories of bullying and harassment, the harder they become to ignore. We are at the cusp of the music industry's #MeToo movement. Share your experiences by participating in our anonymous survey. You can be as loud as you want, it is a safe space to share your story. Let's bring about change in the music industry together, right now. Your voice can be the difference. Complete the survey at blim.org.uk/change.”

Jen Smith MIReg (She/Her) says, "CIISA continues to work extremely closely with Black Lives in Music as a key strategic partner. Whilst the Select Committee Enquiry has concluded, scrutiny on the alarming prevalence of bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour in the music industry has not. BLiM's current survey to gather testimony is a pivotal intervention and CIISA will continue to work closely with BLiM in ensuring that the findings shape and influence CIISA's services.”

Campaigner Vick Bain, who also gave evidence to the Inquiry, Founder of The F List, and ex-Chief Executive Officer of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (the Ivors Academy) says, "It was with growing dismay and disappointment that we read through paragraph after paragraph of the government response to the Women and Equalities Committee's report on Misogyny in Music. Or should that be non-response, as they have chosen to reject every single recommendation made. The inquiry heard in great detail from women who have experienced the corrosive and controlling impact of misogyny in the UK music industry. And we know that some women are more vulnerable to this than others, that the intersectional impact of multiple dimensions of discrimination make Black women, Asian women, disabled women, trans women, and so on, suffer the career limiting consequences of these behaviours the most. That the UK government has the ability to update the Equalities Act in order to give greater protection to these women and yet is choosing not to, speaks volumes. We will therefore continue to campaign alongside our sister organisation Black Lives in Music to ensure that this vital issue is not forgotten and the voices of Black women in music are heard."

Another who appeared before the select committee Nadia Khan, Founder of Women in CTRL, says, “It's incredibly disheartening to hear the government deny the reality of the endemic misogyny and discrimination that women face in the UK music industry.

The report rightly highlighted the urgent need for action to tackle these issues, describing the music industry as a 'boys club' where sexual harassment and abuse are common, and victims often face disbelief or career consequences if they speak out.
The report also highlighted limitations in opportunity, lack of support, and persistent unequal pay, which are intensified for those facing intersectional barriers.

The government's decision to reject the reasonable steps recommended by the select committee is shocking. It further reinforces the invisibility of women in the industry, and sends a clear message that nothing will change for women.

Women in CTRL urge the government to reconsider its stance and prioritise the safety and equality of women in the music industry.”

Black Lives in Music (BLiM) gave evidence at the Misogyny In Music inquiry in 2023, the first inquiry of its kind. Set up by the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC), the report was released in January. It found that women pursuing careers in music face “endemic” misogyny and discrimination in a sector dominated by self-employment and gendered power imbalances.

WEC had called on ministers to take legislative steps to amend the Equality Act to ensure freelance workers have the same protections from discrimination as employees and bring into force section 14 to improve protections for people facing intersectional inequality.

It also recommended the Government should legislate to impose a duty on employers to protect workers from sexual harassment by third parties, a proposal the Government initially supported and then rejected last year. The Government also failed to give assurances that it would extend the time limit for bringing Equality Act-based claims to an employment tribunal from three to six months as recommended by the Committee.

On non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), the report cited distressing testimonies of victims “threatened into silence”, with WEC urging ministers to prohibit the use of non-disclosure and other forms of confidentiality agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, bullying or harassment, and discrimination relating to a protected characteristic. The Government plans to bring in such measures in higher education but did not support the Committee’s recommendation to do so for music or other sectors despite the compelling evidence presented by the Committee.

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28 May 2024

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  • What the General Election could mean for the music business, ticketing, AI and big tech (see Analysis)

24 May 2024

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  • Is the music business too afraid of big, bad AI? (see Opinion)

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23 May 2024

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  • Apple’s 100 Best Albums list is ridiculous and exists almost expressly to make you mad (see News)

22 May 2024

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21 May 2024

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20 May 2024

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17 May 2024

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  • How the music industry is in a new age of arrogance (see Opinion)

16 May 2024

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15 May 2024

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14 May 2024

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  • A perspective on the health of the UK's live industry (see Features)