Shirley Manson at the VO5 NME Awards 2018

Shirley Manson uses VO5 NME Awards speech to demand change for women

"If you're any kind of decent person of any gender, you'll be pretty keen to try and turn the tables"

Garbage legend Shirley Manson used her platform at the VO5 NME Awards 2018 to demand change for women in the arts. Watch our interview with Manson in the video above.

Manson was in attendance at the O2 Academy in Brixton to pick up the first ever NME Icon Award, where she said that the representation of women was just what was needed in the current climate.

“The current climate kind of breaks my heart,” Manson told NME on the red carpet. “If you’re any kind of decent person of any gender, you’ll be pretty keen to try and turn the tables to readdress what we’re coming to understand. There’s just a phenomenal imbalance – particularly within the arts, it’s insane. If we were talking about weight-lifting or something, I could maybe understand if there was a higher statistic, but for music there’s no reason why we can’t have 50/50 representation across the board.

“It’s high time things changed.”

Collecting her award from Savages’ Jehnny Beth, the newly-crowned Icon said: “In all seriousness, thank you so much. I am so thrilled to be here. I have been reading the NME and features in the NME since as far back as the mid-80s.

As well as thanking her band, managers and music journalists, Manson took the time to hail the strength of all women in the music industry and beyond.

“This has been an incredibly sad roll-out in some regards in the last 18 months,” said Manson. “I think we’re all shocked. Any decent person is shocked by the statistics surrounding not only the harassment that women face, not only the violence that we face, but the lack of representation that we enjoy in an industry.

“The fact that women at my level enjoy under seven per cent representation is unacceptable. I call upon any musician in this room to stand up and really call out festivals for not representing women, in particular women of colour, our black sisters. We need to make a change. It’s vital.”

Check out the full list of VO5 NME Awards 2018 winners here.