Australia’s music industry plagued by sexual harassment, report says

An independent report for the Australian music industry has revealed unacceptable levels of sexual harm, sexual harassment and systemic discrimination operating within its folds.

The Make their voices heard report, commissioned by the Australian contemporary music industry, involved 1,600

attendees. He found that women and non-binary people struggle to excel to the same extent as men, and that young people – as well as those from diverse backgrounds – are at particular risk of harm.

More than half (55%) of participants said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace during their career, with 72% of them being women. While 82% of people did not report their abuse, 71% of those who did said their career progress had been negatively affected.

“The review’s findings demonstrate that sexual abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, racism and other forms of discrimination are prevalent at unacceptable rates in the music industry,” the report said.

“These are behaviors that have no place in contemporary Australian workplaces, however unconventional.”

With more than 50 music organizations across Australia funding the review, Julia Robison, chief executive of the Australian Festivals Association and host of the report, told VICE it was “unprecedented” for the industry to come together. in this way.

“More than 50 organizations funded the report and it shows a real commitment to change,” she said.

“Early last year there was a gathering that talked about these issues and it was decided to come together to look at the true stories to really understand the problem before we could come up with solutions.”

The report primarily focused on the experiences of women and non-binary people, who were found to be the most significant groups affected by sexual harassment and discrimination within the industry.

Ninety-one percent of women said they had experienced at least one instance of sexism in their career, compared to 66% of men. They also described instances where they were “fired for their talents”, “objectified”, “sexualized”, and sometimes judged for their looks.

One participant wrote, “There is definitely a pressure to be sexy as a woman in the industry 100% of the time. No one is looking at your CV, they are looking at your chest and your body.

While the report’s findings point to widespread problems in the industry, it also aimed to provide solutions, listing 17 recommendations for change.

These included the establishment of a Contemporary Music Industry Cultural Reform Council that would mobilize and oversee a code of conduct and implement a plan to address gender imbalance, sexual discrimination and diversity issues.

These would be kept in place with independent investigations into anything that breached the code of conduct.

The report also recommended the creation of education and awareness campaigns, as well as goals to increase the representation of women in the music industry, including in festival lineups, leadership positions and award nominations. .

Although the report reveals many troubling aspects of Australian music, Robinson said it was a positive step forward for the industry.

“This report marks a signal of change in the industry,” she said, “We thank everyone who participated, it’s really hard for people to do this and we have tremendous gratitude.”

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