The gatekeeper gap: searching for solutions to the UK’s ongoing gender imbalance in music creation

Hooper, E (2019) 'The gatekeeper gap: searching for solutions to the UK’s ongoing gender imbalance in music creation.' In: Strong, C and Raine, S, eds. Towards gender equality in the music industry. Bloomsbury Academic, London. ISBN 9781501345500 (Forthcoming)

Official URL: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/towards-gender-equal...

Abstract

With over 95,000 composers and songwriter members, the Performing Rights Society (PRS) is the organisation that ensures that professional composers and songwriters in the UK are compensated for the use of their work. In 1994 ten percent of PRS earning members were female (PRS, 2017b). In 2015, 22 years later, that number was only marginally higher, at fourteen percent (PRS, 2017b). These statistics represent a genre-spanning picture of the overall UK music-maker industry, and are seemingly strong indicators of a particular gendered imbalance in terms of music creation within the larger scope of UK music industries, one that, despite a sharp rise in awareness, targeted organizations, and initiative funding, is improving at a very minimally significant rate, if at all. This paper almagamates new data produced through partnerships with the PRS, The World is Listening (women in music organization), UK festivals, and dozens of interviews along with numerous secondary sources to cross-check demographic and economic details in an effort to shed light on the potential cause(s) of this ongoing imbalance in the face of notable social effort. It is concluded that, while female-focused initiatives such as the Women Make Music fund or Sweden’s new all-female festival do succeed in drawing in and up-skilling female music-makers, there is significant potential for impact at the gate-keeper level, specifically in breaking through ‘boys’ club’ networking patterns. “We need to stop thinking that women are automatically supportive of other women, and openly discuss how male directors and male heads of arts organisations can own opportunities to enact feminism.” (PRS, 2017a: 13) A mere 14% of professional composers and songwriters in the UK are female ((PRS, 2017b). This paper almagamates new data produced through partnerships with the Performing Rights Society (PRS), The World is Listening (women in music organization), UK festivals, and dozens of interviews along with numerous secondary sources to cross-check demographic and economic details in an effort to shed light on the potential cause(s) of this ongoing imbalance in the face of notable social effort. It is concluded that, while female-focused initiatives such as the Women Make Music fund or Sweden’s new all-female festival do succeed in drawing in and up-skilling female music-makers, there is significant potential for impact at the gate-keeper level, specifically in breaking through ‘boys’ club’ networking patterns. “We need to stop thinking that women are automatically supportive of other women, and openly discuss how male directors and male heads of arts organisations can own opportunities to enact feminism.” (PRS, 2017a: 13)

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2019 15:44
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2019 15:44
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