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New study finds the most common problem facing women in music is sexual harassment

31 March 2021 | 5:31 pm | Emma Jones

A new study has found statistics which many women in music won't find surprising, but it is interesting to see how the industry will change.

According to findings released via a study conducted by Midia Research, Tunecore, and Tunecore’s parent company Believe, the most common issue women face in the music industry is sexual harassment. Of the 401 respondents (all female music makers), nearly two thirds agreed that sexual harassment and objectification was a major challenge they repeatedly faced.

Elsewhere in the study, according to Mixmag, 81% of those surveyed said they felt disadvantaged compared to their male peers when gaining recognition for their work, while a whopping 90% said they have experienced unconscious bias from the industry. Of this 90%, nearly half said they experience regularly.

The survey explained, “Sexualization and objectification are a consequence (or symptom) of unbalanced power dynamics, as shown by the next ‘big three challenges’: ageism (identified by 38%), lack of access to male-dominated industry resources (36%) and lower pay (27%).”

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The survey also found that, despite overall representation of women in society increasing over the past few decades, "84% of women still feel that there exists a perception that women are expected to take on the primary role of parenting duties." The survey commented that "The music industry wants female artists to be young – partly a symptom of the industry’s youth obsession, but also so that women become successful before they are presumed to decide to take on the role of motherhood."

Conducted in February 2021, these figures will come as no surprise to many, including the person writing this very article. As the authors of the survey wrote in a segment titled A Bold Vision For Real Change, "The issues, challenges and experiences highlighted in this report are not “women’s problems” to be solved just by women in the music industry."

"The findings of this study articulate a systemic inequity in the music industry today, requiring thoughtful consideration, commitment to change and courageous action. This is required not of any one faction of the industry, or by women alone, but by all the industry’s organizations and constituents."

Words by Emma Jones