The 2024 BE THE CHANGE: Gender Equity in Music Study

With data from more than 4,100 women, men, and gender expansive industry professionals and music creators from 133 countries, the fourth annual BE THE CHANGE aims to expose the reasons behind the gender inequities in the industry and create tangible solutions to combat them.

Demographics

The majority of respondents are solo creators between the ages of 25-44 and 64% are men, 32% women, and 6% gender expansive which is reflective of the overall music industry.

An Uneven Playing Field

  • Women are twice as likely as men to discover that they are paid less than colleagues in the same or similar roles: 35% to 17%, respectively.
  • Nearly half (49%) of women from marginalized racial / ethnic groups report discovering they are paid less than male counterparts, as did 44% of women with disabilities, and 41% of LGBTQIA+ women.
  • This “pay gap” is worse in the business realm than the creative one: 51% of women professionals discovered it compared to 27% of women creators.

Sexual Harassment & Assault

3 in 5 women in music experience sexual harassment during their time in the industry. 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault.

Reporting Sexual Harassment & Assault

  • Over 70% of women who experience sexual harassment and assault do not report it.
  • Of women who reported experiencing sexual assault, 56% said their claims were ignored or dismissed, 38% felt blacklisted afterwards, and 12% said they were terminated afterwards.

Perception Gap: Gender

The “perception gap” is reflected in the fact that only 16% of male respondents view the music industry as generally discriminative based on gender, compared to roughly 50% of women and 41% of gender expansive respondents.

Perception Gap: Race/Ethnicity

Only 25% of all respondents consider the industry to be generally discriminative towards race / ethnicity. This rose to 66%, for women of a marginalized racial or ethnic community.

In short, marginalized identities compound: It is hard to be a female creator, and it is extra hard to be an artist of color, but being a female artist of color is harder still.

Digital Dissonance

  • Women and gender expansive respondents express greater concern than men about the potential for AI to heighten competition, and to reinforce existing biases and inequalities.
  • Men are more confident that technologies like AI will not affect them, or will give them more freedom.

Online Trolling or Bullying

  • 37% of men experience online trolling or bullying, compared to 44% of women, and 57% of gender expansive respondents.
  • Women aged 35-44 are most likely to experience online trolling / bullying of all the womens’ age brackets.

Mental Health: Confidence & Self-Motivation

  • For both women and gender-expansive respondents, nearly half said their confidence and self-motivation improved in the last two years.

Mental Health: Stress

  • Nearly half of women (44%) and gender expansive respondents (47%) say stress worsened in the last two years, compared to 27% of men.
  • Stress worsened for more than half (56%) of LGBTQIA+ women, and 46% of women from marginalized racial / ethnic groups.
  • Professionals are also more likely to see worsening stress levels than creators, with 53% of women professionals saying their stress worsened, compared to 44% of gender expansive creators and 39% of women creators.

Calls to Action

Above all, we urge the music industry to focus on reducing the perception gap, committing to pay transparency, and combatting sexual harassment and assault. The following calls to action specifically target these initiatives:

What’s Changed? (Since 2021)

  • 60% of women in music say they experience sexual harassment compared to 82% in our 2021 report.
  • Nearly half of women and gender expansive respondents say their confidence and self-motivation have improved.
  • Around one third of women and gender expansive individuals say opportunities for career progression and promotion have improved.
  • 28% of women and gender expansive individuals say diversity of staff increased, and 31% say recognition increased.
  • About 20% of men and women respondents say their income has improved.
  • The majority (60%) of women and gender expansive respondents saw no change in “negative, aggressive, or inappropriate audience behaviour online” while 27% of gender expansive respondents and 18% of women say this behavior increased.

Let’s Connect

Please contact [email protected] to learn more.

Everyone

  • Reflect on the insights in this report, share them widely, and discuss them with others
  • Speak up when witnessing or experiencing misconduct
  • Sign the BE THE CHANGE in Music pledge and encourage others to do the same

Leadership and human resources

  • Include salary ranges in all job descriptions
  • Diversify hiring committees and institute blind hiring where possible
  • Diversify job candidate pools using databases like INPINK and Women Who Create 
  • Support new hires through mentorship and training, and regularly monitor satisfaction through anonymous feedback
  • Regularly publish statistics on the diversity of staff and / or creative roster, referencing official guidance like the Gender Equality Index
  • Host mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for employees
  • Create confidential anonymous hotlines for reporting sexual harassment and assault, and enforce penalties for misbehavior
  • Sign the Keychange pledge for music industry organizations (including festivals) to achieve gender equity and diversity by committing to self-determined goals within their scope of work

Creators

  • Commit to working only with partners which are diversely staffed and / or have pledged commitments to gender equality
  • Join and support trade associations like the UK’s Musicians Union and the American Federation of Musicians
  • Use hotlines to report misconduct (e.g., New York’s Local 802)
  • Recognize the power imbalances that can dissuade women from speaking up for themselves and keep all sexual contact, verbal and physical, out of work settings

Venues

(E.g., Recording studios, live performance venues, conference venues)

  • Develop, signpost, and enforce rules prohibiting misconduct, and include them in contractual agreements
  • Commit to ensuring a diversity of acts, lineups, and curation
  • Offer confidential support for anyone who experiences misconduct (e.g., the Ask For Angela campaign in the UK)

Non-profit organizations

  • Spearhead the development of accessible, crowd-sourced online guides for the range of pay that creators should expect for certain gigs
  • Organize grants for young women and gender expansive creators (e.g., PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music)
  • Provide music business education resources and support to young women and gender expansive individuals (e.g., Gen Admission) and educate all young people on the gender gap and value of diversity
  • Organize safelisting systems recognising businesses that uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion (e.g., France’s ACT RIGHT Quality Label)

Governments, regulators, and trade bodies

  • Develop and pass legislation prohibiting the use of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment and assault cases
  • Develop and pass legislation requiring employers to publish salary ranges and equity practices / statistics
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