Apr 22, 2024 2 min read

UK government has “ignored the voices of women” in response to Misogyny In Music report, says MU

The UK government last week issued a response to the recent Misogyny In Music report that was prepared by MPs earlier this year, rejecting all recommendations for it to provide greater legal protections. The Musicians’ Union has now urged the government to “rethink its position”

UK government has “ignored the voices of women” in response to Misogyny In Music report, says MU

The Musicians’ Union has criticised the UK government’s response to the inquiry into misogyny in music that was undertaken by Parliament’s Women And Equalities Select Committee. The ruling Conservative Party has agreed that something should definitely be done to tackle the issue, says the trade body, but has refused to enact any of the legislative recommendations made at the inquiry’s conclusion.

In its response last week, the government went through each recommendation made by the select committee in turn. While it agreed that the music industry should act to tackle misogyny, it rejected any suggestion that it should amend or improve existing legislation. 

The MU notes that the government agrees “that everyone should be able to work in the music industry without being subject to misogyny and discrimination”, but nonetheless “has offered nothing that would help to keep women working in the industry safe”.

Published in January, the Misogyny In Music report was damning of the music industry, calling it a “boys club” where discrimination against women is “endemic” but hidden due to a “culture of silence”. 

It made numerous recommendations, which included urging the music industry itself to act. However, many of its suggestions focussed on changing the law, largely to provide greater protections to freelance workers. 

It also suggested introducing a licensing process for recording studios that would include a sexual harassment risk assessment, and argued that the use of non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual misconduct, bullying, harassment and discrimination should be prohibited.

In a statement, MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl says, “The MU are deeply disappointed in the government’s response to the Misogyny In Music report and shocked that the select committee’s recommendations have been rejected in this way”.

“Women from across the music industry have bravely shared their experiences of misogyny, sexual harassment and abuse as well as other very real barriers they face whilst working in the industry”, she goes on. “The government had an opportunity to listen and learn from those lived experiences and implement the changes that the select committee’s report recommended. Instead, the government decided that women’s safety is not a priority. Again, survivors are not being listened to”.

“The Equality Act is out of date and does not reflect how people see themselves or how they work, it needs updating as a matter of urgency”, she goes on. “The industry needs increased funding to support targeted action to improve diversity and an improved legislative framework that reflects the way musicians work. The government has committed to neither”.

“We urge the government to rethink its position and implement the recommendations from the report”, she concludes.

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