New study reveals 69 per cent of women face discrimination in Western Australia’s music sector

The Fair Play WA Report was published by West Australian Music

A new report on women’s experiences working in the Western Australian music sector has revealed that nearly 70 per cent of women face discrimination while working in the industry, among other findings.

The Fair Play WA Report by West Australian Music (WAM) was published on March 6 to coincide with International Women’s Day 2020. A detailed study of women’s gendered experience working and engaging with the WA music sector, it aims to “further inform, engage and actively progress gender equality within WA’s dynamic and flourishing music sector”.

Findings were based on three separate industry, venue, and consumer surveys, in addition to interviews with 11 industry representatives and questionnaires conducted by venue operators. Initial consultations for the report began in 2017.

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A significant discovery from the study noted that 69 per cent of female respondents said they had experienced discrimination or disadvantage because of their gender, compared to 18 per cent of male respondents. Female industry practitioners were also 10 times more likely to experience gender discrimination than their male counterparts.

Additionally, live music venues were identified as the primary space where gender discrimination and harassment occurs for both industry practitioners and consumers. This was still the case despite venues implementing zero-tolerance policies for violence and aiming for gender parity in their staffing.

“Still, to this day, I’d rock up to a show with my guitar and my amp and the sound person will come up and ask me if I know how to set it all up,” said one respondent of their experience in live music venues.

“Even just not even being acknowledged. Or just rocking up to a gig that my boyfriend is playing, at a show where we’re both playing the lineup and being asked if I’m holding his gear for him – when I’m headlining.”

Find the full report from WAM for free on their website.

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On a related note, Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman announced in February 2019 that community sector organisation Safer Venues WA would receive a $60,000 investment from the McGowan Government’s Contemporary Music fund over three years. Safer Venues WA aims to promote respect and inclusion for all genders in music venues across Western Australia.

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