International Women’s Day in Music: Patronising or Perfection?

International Women’s Day in Music: Patronising or Perfection?
It’s that time of year again where the gender that have literally given birth to everyone since the beginning of the time get celebrated for 24 hours.
It’s a day where women are apparently honoured all day (despite them still going to work on this day and getting on average 15% less pay than men, according to The Sun) and we are still unable to walk down the street without getting the unflattering and unwelcome cat-call or what it should be referred too, sexual harassment.
At the Grammys this year, Alessia Cara was the only female to be presented with a Solo award sparking the hashtag #GrammysSoMale before Grammy President, Neil Portnow stated that women needed to, “Step up” in order to reach higher statuses. Ouch. Obviously, radio stations today are using this 24 hours to celebrate women in music however, it raises the question, why do we have a specific day in which women are celebrated?
However, certain measures are being taken this year in the music industry to celebrate International Women’s Day and it has divided its market. MusicVenueTrust have started a scheme today where they are looking for 100 women to put on 100 shows in 100 venues. The scheme has fundraising behind it meaning they can offer a financial guarantee that no women will lose any money, plus they have industry professionals on hand to guide, help and suggest ways in which to put on these gigs.
This is sparking the debate on whether this scheme is patronising due to the fact it’s only offered to women. There is no doubt in my mind that this scheme was started with good intentions and a genuine want to help women who may feel threatened in such a male dominated profession however, couldn’t this be suggesting that young women need help in this particular field and are incapable of doing it on their own?
It’s no secret that most areas of the music profession are male dominated which can cause women to feel outnumbered in this industry however, is offering them a hand patronising or a beautiful gesture? Surely, if people really wanted to help, they wouldn’t have waited until March 8th to have done it. Gender inequality has occurred in music since the day it began so why wait until a day supposedly about women before doing anything about it?
MusicVenueTrust stated,
“This project is one element of the work we are doing to energise the grassroots music venue circuit. There's not enough female voices out there in charge of the booking of acts at these venues, and we are specifically doing this piece of work to try to change that. While we have seen some criticism that it could be viewed as patronising, those voices are substantially outweighed by positive reactions. We appreciate people may have different viewpoints, but to those who don't want to get behind this project, whatever the reason, we would simply say that this is a solution we are going to try and we'd welcome other people offering their own solutions. It's a fact that only 13% of people working in back room roles at music venues are female. That needs to change, and we think this is an opportunity to see if this might help”
Every year International Women’s Day raised concerns of patronisation and the brutal truth that we shouldn’t need to put a day aside to celebrate our women. But with music schemes such as this one being put in place, are they just adhering to the patronising rumours or is this a step in the right direction?
You can apply for the music scheme here: http://musicvenuetrust.com/

Happy International Women’s Day! x

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