Ahead of The Australian Women in Music Awards (AWMA), TIO spoke to Brisbane-based music industry professional Emily Hopley about the new AWMA Youth project which will kick off in 2021.

The AWMA Youth Project, which was announced earlier this year, will aim to provide educational resources, collaborate with celebrated music professionals, and highlight opportunities in the music sector.

“AWMA Youth provides a vehicle for sharing industry experiences and creating new pathways via the distribution of information through discussion, networking and mentorship with up-and-coming youth,” Emily explained to TIO.

“The program is inspiring systemic change by breaking down barriers for females in the music industry through engaging educational resources, collaborating with celebrated music professionals and highlighting opportunities for women/non-binary and GNC with an interest in this sector.

“The project will also see the launch of the AWMA Youth podcast and blog in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, at the conference, a Youth Forum will focus on mental health and wellbeing impacts for young women in the music industry.”

She added: “There’s so much more to come including blogs, a podcast, resources and perhaps most excitingly, a forum at AWMA 2021.”

Emily’s passion for supporting women in the music industry was born following an internship with AWMA in 2019 as a graduate of Griffith University’s Bachelor of Popular Music.

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It was here that she developed a plan to “make sure more women/non-binary, GNC (and men) in the industry understood the work AWMA was doing and why it is so important, especially those just getting started in music.”

“They say confidence is key and my AWMA internship certainly brought me that,” Emily said.

“What a wonderful group of strong and courageous women I had the chance to meet and work with. This team showed me how important it is to stand up and be heard, have the courage to be myself and know that I can do anything I want to do.”

Emily hopes that by spearheading the project, the music industry will take steps to ensure the industry is an equal playing field for both men and women.

“There are a plethora of issues in the music sector that women are subject to in their day to day careers, particularly women of colour,” she said.

“These issues range from a lack of gender diversity in executive and board member roles, sexual harassment and assault, a lack of internal support and safety systems for women working in major and independent companies, the gender pay gap, gender diversity in festival line-ups, and poor mental health to name a few.”

As for whether she believes the industry has made progress of late, she said: “We’re moving forward, but there’s still a very long way to go.

“AWMA has delivered programs which have driven systemic change to make visible female First Nations and multicultural artists, women working in remote and regional communities, female producers, engineers and technicians, emerging artists, elders, leaders and music practitioners across all genres of music and will continue to do so.

“Australia needs better systems of protection and accountability put in place by ALL music corporations, companies and practitioners.

“Women and men within the industry must work together and put respect at the top of the priority list.”

Australian Women in Music Awards nominations are now open, with finalists being announced in August.

Australian Women in Music Awards 2021

5-6 October, Brisbane
womeninmusicawards.com.au