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Women in music

This page collates blogs, podcasts and interviews from women working in music, as well as communities who support them. You can also find out about the ISM's campaigning work to tackle discrimination across the sector.

Campaigning

The ISM campaigns to highlight and tackle the issue of sexual discrimination in music. Our latest report Dignity at work 2: Discrimination in the music sector exposes the devastating scale of discrimination (including sexual harassment) in all parts of the music sector, including education.

The ISM calls on music organisations to sign the ISM-MU Code of Practice. The Code of Practice is a set of principles that aims to eradicate bullying, harassment, discrimination and other forms of inappropriate behaviour within the sector. Over 100 organisations have already signed up.

ISM's first consecutive female Presidents

In the ISM's Music Journal, we looked at the careers of ISM's first consecutive female presidents Deborah Keyser (2021-22) and Vick Bain (2022-23) and find out their hopes for the future of the society.

Reclaiming women's work in music

ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts spoke about the unfair practices and discrimination that face women in the music workforce at the Third International Conference on Women’s Work in Music, hosted by Bangor University.

Legal support

Our specialist in-house legal team can help members facing discrimination at work, supporting them to navigate the complexities of employment law.

Podcasts

In this selection of podcasts, women in music open up about their careers, including Wozzy Brewster, founder of the Midi Music company and Vanessa Reed, former Executive Director of PRS for Music Foundation.

Community support

Below is a list of communities that support women and gender minorities working in the UK music industry.

  • The F-List, a directory of UK female+ musicians
  • Her Ensemble, a string orchestra with the aim to make a positive impact on the gender gap in the music industry, whilst creating space for musicians of marginalised genders
  • shesaid.so, a global community of women, gender minorities and allies in the music industry
  • Girls Rock London, an award-winning charity providing high-quality music programming for young and adult women, trans, and non-binary people
  • Women In Jazz, an organisation championing and nurturing women in jazz
  • Girls I Rate, a platform and voice for women to collaborate, celebrate and empower each other
  • Saffron, a music tech initiative taking an intersectional approach to redressing the gender imbalance in the industry
  • Bassists with Boobs, an online double bass community for people who identify as women, trans or any other underrepresented identities
  • Donne, a charitable foundation that fights against gender inequality in the music industry.
  • Gender and the Large and Shiny Instruments, a collective which encourages young girls, women, and non-binary people to take up brass, percussion, and large and shiny instruments
  • Multitude of Voyces, a registered non-profit organisation specialising in supporting underrepresented and marginalised communities through the creative use of music and words
  • Illuminate Women's Music, a concert series promoting the work of emerging women composers and performers, and giving a platform for historical repertoire by women composers
  • The Daffodil Perspective, a gender-balanced, racially equitable and inclusive podcast telling the stories of brilliant composers and musicians marginalised over the centuries
  • eavesdropping, a platform for female music creators that includes a festival with performances, presentations and debates, a podcast and a growing strand of training opportunities for artists
  • Women in Music, a national membership organisation that celebrates women's music making across all genres of music, raises awareness of gender issues in music, and supports women musicians in their professional development
  • Music Production For Women, a learning platform designed to empower independent female and non-binary artists in the production and tech space

Blogs

These blogs from IWD 2019 celebrate leading female voices in the music industry.

International Women's Day: Hannah V

To celebrate International Women's Day, the ISM is producing a series of blogs featuring influential female musicians and women working in the industry today.

International Women's Day: Pamela McCormick

To celebrate International Women's Day on Thursday 8 March, the ISM is producing a series of blogs featuring influential female musicians and women working in the industry today.

Being part of the change

In 2021, we achieved our Keychange pledge of at least 50% representation of women and gender minorities on the ISM Council and at ISM Group events. Key change aims to change the music industry landscape and work towards gender balance.

Keychange