Study: women in music cite sexual harassment as most prominent industry problem
As Women’s History Month wraps up, data from a new survey from Midia Research, Tunecore, and Tunecore’s parent company Believe conclude that sexual harassment is the most widely cited problem for women in the music industry.
The recent study follows USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s research from earlier this month, which showed that women in the music industry have not seen any significant improvements in representation over the past nine years. In this span, women accounted for only 21.6% of all artists on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Charts. In 2020, they represented only 20.2% of the artists on Billboard’s music charts.
Midia Research and Tunecore’s study surveyed 401 female music creators from around the world. Nearly two-thirds of respondents cited sexual harassment or objectification as a key challenge. Further, 81% of participants also stated that they felt it was harder for female artists to gain recognition compared to their male counterparts. According to the survey,
“Sexualization and objectification are a consequence (or symptom) of unbalanced power dynamics, as shown by the next ‘big three challenges’: ageism (identified by 38%), lack of access to male-dominated industry resources (36%) and lower pay (27%).”
Due to the male domination of the music industry, 90% of those surveyed stated that they experience unconscious bias, with nearly half of survey participants saying they experience it frequently. Female creators have also faced challenges in the perception that music composition, production, and sound are connected with men, and are therefore “genderized.”
Societal expectations also provided a factor for why women have found it more difficult to achieve success in the music industry. 84% of the survey’s participants said they felt as though they were expected to become successful before starting to have a family, due to the perception that they would gravitate towards motherhood once they reached a certain age.
A lack of female representation and mentors has also proven difficult for women in the music industry. 35% of those surveyed had said they felt change could come from learning and shared experiences in coaching and mentoring. In terms of combating objectification and sexualization, 34% hope that having female-friendly resources and safe workspaces would be a practical starting point.
Featured image: Rukes