Despite the constant refrains of “is this still a thing?” when the issue of industry sexism is raised, the sector has a long way to go before genuine parity is reflected. However, as yesterday’s Electronic Music Conference panel Conscious/Unconscious Gender Bias showed, the industry is taking steps towards change through initiatives aimed at addressing the gaps in confidence, skill, and pay.
A lack of confidence remains one of the most pervasive forms of unconscious bias within the industry. As panel facilitator Michelle G Hunder acknowledged, “Women have to be so good at something before they put themselves out there. A lot of men jump right in, which is great – we should encourage women to jump in the deep end too”.
Mentoring initiatives and active encouragement from within the industry are a vital step in addressing those gaps in confidence. “Watching the development of someone when they’re given the tools to have a creative voice and be trusted with it, they develop very quickly”, said panelist Carly Roberts. Her dance event group PICNIC actively employs female staff and helps them to develop skills and have a voice, something that Roberts found difficult as a young DJ. “I felt like trying to take up space that I wanted was increasingly hard because of my sex – no one believed how serious I was”.