Two weeks ago, a news article popped up in my feed that got my attention. It turns out that the beer industry has got problems with sexual harassment and misogyny.
In a survey of 220 beer industry workers, 38% had been harassed at work, and 20% had been sexually harassed. 90% of these were women.
The music industry has a remarkably similar problem, except that… well… it’s worse. 85% of women in music have experienced some form of sexual harassment. It got me thinking. What other similarities do the beer and music industries have? So, I made a little comparison table between them and – here it is.
What things does the beer industry share with the music industry?
|An important ingredient for a good party||✔||✔|
|A common choice for a great night out||✔||✔|
|Lots of varieties available||✔||✔|
|An essential part of the Australian way of life||✔||✔|
|Makes an important contribution to the Australian economy||✔||✔|
|Requires skill and dedication to produce||✔||✔|
|Has a way of helping us forget our troubles for a while||✔||✔|
|Helps with social cohesion||✔||✔|
|Can be enjoyed on your own||✔||✔|
|Is open to innovation and new ways of doing things||✔||✔|
|Can be consumed while driving a car||X||✔|
|The industry has a problem with gender discrimination||✔||✔|
|There is widespread sexual harassment||✔||✔|
|Has an industry wide mandatory code of conduct||✔||X|
In response to incidences of sexual harassment and discrimination the Independent Brewers Association has adopted a mandatory code of conduct in which signatories agree (amongst other things) to behave in a professional manner, respect the human dignity of all individuals regardless of “race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, disability, size or appearance, religion, or nationality”.
They even agree to always act ethically. Members who breach the code can be dismissed from the organisation.
I realise that we can’t look at music industry exactly the same way – because even at the top level the major record labels only represent a small number of artists. There are literally thousands of small businesses in the music industry, from PR companies, independent labels, music publishers to bands, and solo operators like artists, photographers, stylists, and record producers. The reality is there is no single umbrella organisation under which everyone sits.
So, the level of difficulty to implement a code of conduct without a governing body is greater, but if we are collectively smart enough to carve out something as challenging as a music career, then surely we are smart enough to agree on a basic code of conduct. With a few major players stepping up and signing on, it has to be doable.
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In my humble opinion, I think a code of conduct should include a pledge to respect the dignity and humanity of others we meet in the course of our work. Like the beer industry, we should agree not to discriminate based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, disability, size or appearance, religion, or nationality.
We should affirm that bullying, abuse and sexual harassment have no place in our industry and we should pledge to not only refrain from this kind of behaviour, but to call it out when we see it, exercise zero tolerance and to report it wherever possible.
It would be a great first step. If brewers can do it, then surely, we can.