- Words Miriam Balanescu
Sparked by the Keychange initiative, 500 music companies are committing to gender equality, and a new talent programme for gender minorities is launched.
Since its conception in 2017, Keychange, a campaign pushing for gender equality across the music industry, has amassed a global following. Now, EBU Music, part of the European Broadcasting Union, has become Keychange’s latest signatory, and its 500th.
EBU will be collaborating with Keychange to improve the representation of women in music broadcasting. It joins organisations including the Barbican Centre, Music Centre, BBC Proms, Royal Opera House, Musicians’ Union, and recently Strawberries & Creem Festival in making the pledge.
EBU’s director of communications, Vanessa O’Connor, has said: “I’m delighted that we will be partnering with Keychange once more after our joint initiatives earlier this year to highlight the stark disparity in gender representation in the music industry. Signing this Pledge cements our commitment to increase visibility of these issues and amplify the voices of the many music bodies who are also signing in support of urgent and necessary change.”
Keychange reports that across the music industry 80% or more of its workforce or representatives are male. Taking data from 70 major independent music companies, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that 13.9% of top executives are from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, 4.2% were Black and 13.9% were women.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has set the gender gap across all sectors back by a generation.
Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation, has said: “The widening gender gap is a real blow for the whole industry – governments need to act decisively to put this in reverse. More than ever, industry-specific initiatives such as Keychange have a vital role to play in holding space and opportunities for the underrepresented. We call on music organisations to play their part by putting gender equality centre-stage and embedding it into the cultural recovery. We will drive momentum with the Keychange Pledge, committing new signatories to better gender representation across the globe. As an industry, if we choose to leverage the power of the whole workforce, we will be far better placed to contribute to a dynamic cultural economy.”
Keychange is set to evaluate the progress made toward gender equality at the Tallinn Music Week in 2024. The organisation has also teamed up with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign to set new standards for a more sustainable future in the music industry.
To bolster their efforts toward gender equality, Keychange has also announced a Keychange Talent Development Programme. Operating across Europe, the coveted programme will champion and uplift gender minority artists. The inimitable Kate Nash is involved as a Keychange ambassador.
The Open Call launches on Monday 5th July. To apply visit keychange.eu.