The music industry doesn’t offer the same workplace protections or gender parity that other industries do. Addressing these ongoing problems was the sentiment delivered yesterday by a number of industry leaders in the effort toward gender-related change.

Taking place at Sonos House in Sydney, as part of the Sonos ‘Listen Better initiative, the panel featured: 

“…And perhaps we can do it in a way that’s not trying to fix women”.
– Dr Rae Cooper. 
Dr Bianca Fileborn of the University of New South Wales spoke about her research into sexual violence within anonymous spaces, such as live music venues and music festivals.
Her work as part of the Victorian government taskforce on Sexual Harassment and Assault in Live Music Venues is now beginning to focus on these issues in relation to music festivals. The desired outcome; a shift to make music festivals safer spaces.
Addressing gender parity in the music industry at the Sonos ‘Listen Better’ panel
Working toward eliminating sexual violence at music festivals is a top priority. Image: Georgia Moloney
“We know that some of the main drivers of sexual harassment and sexual violence are gender inequality, and that includes things like representation of women in positions of power and pay gaps,” she said. “[…] These tie into the conditions that directly enable and cause sexual violence to occur. When we talk about sexual violence and gender inequality, they are fundamentally intertwined.”

Long-term change

Jane Slingo reinforced the importance of encouraging and fostering the careers of women in behind-the-scenes industry roles.

“I’m interested to see what programs are happening at school that aren’t about musicianship and artistry; I’d love to see programs that actually show career paths if you’re not an artist as well. Can we get the female managers; the female agents?”.

Showing young women and non-binary folk that there is a career path for them outside of performing is an incredibly integral part of the long term hope for change in the industry.


The Sonos Listen Better events continue at Sonos House until July 21st. The full program can be found here.