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Women in the music industry have had "their lives ruined and their careers destroyed by men who have never faced the consequences for their actions" finds scathing report

 Annie Mac performs on stage during Park Life Festival at Platt Fields Park on June 10, 2012 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
Annie Mac performs on stage during Park Life Festival at Platt Fields Park on June 10, 2012 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

A scathing report by UK MPs has painted a damning picture of misogyny in the music industry, which it says remains a "boys' club" where sexual harassment and abuse are rife. 

Among other findings, The Women and Equalities Committee's report said female musicians have had to sit beside sexual abusers at events due to a "culture of silence" and that some women in the music industry have had "their lives ruined and their careers destroyed by men who have never faced the consequences for their actions".

A lot of women feel that they are not being heard when it comes to experiences of misogyny

The cross-party group of MPs, who heard evidence from people across the industry, concluded that misogyny was "endemic".

UK DJ Annie Macmanus, who gave evidence, said, "A lot of women feel that they are not being heard when it comes to experiences of misogyny", that there was a "tidal wave" of revelations about sexual assault that still hadn't been revealed, and that the industry was "rigged against women".

Rebecca Ferguson, singer and X Factor contestant gave evidence that misogyny was "the tip of the iceberg" and that she had been told sexual assaults and rape were going unreported.

Ferguson said bullying and corruption were commonplace, and she had been told rapes were going unreported: "They want to come forward, and they want people to be held to account, but they are also faced with the fact that when they do come forward, those people never really are held to account. For some reason, it always gets covered up and hidden."

"Much of the evidence we received has had to remain confidential," the report itself revealed, "including commentary on television shows and household names."

"That is highly regrettable but demonstrates the extent of the use of NDAs [non-disclosure agreements] and the culture of silence."

More broadly, female artists are routinely undervalued and undermined, have to work harder to gain recognition and are subject to a focus on their appearance that male artists aren't, found the report.

The report makes several recommendations, including amendments to the Equality Act, expanding protection for freelance workers and new law imposing a duty on employers to protect staff from sexual harassment by third parties, the prohibition of NDA agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, sexual harassment or bullying.

However, even if implemented, the report warns that its recommendations are "not a panacea for all of the problems in the industry".

The committee chair, Caroline Nokes, said, "A shift in the behaviour of men - and it is almost always men - at the heart of the music industry is the transformative change needed for talented women to quite literally have their voices heard and be both recognised and rewarded on equal terms."

A government statement said: "All women should be able to work in a music sector which is free from misogyny and discrimination. The industry must do all it can to ensure there is a supportive and safe working environment and to address any imbalances of power that exist.

"The government will carefully consider the Committee's recommendations, and it is right that the industry is taking action through work led by Creative UK and the formation of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority."