PRS Foundation takes gender balance manifesto to Brussels

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PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative will present a manifesto for change at the European Parliament in Brussels today (20 November), with the goal of encouraging a gender balanced music industry worldwide.

Recommendations in the manifesto for a gender balanced music industry include: addressing the gender pay gap by establishing pay grades; anonymising recruitment processes; investing in mentoring and leadership training for women; and implementing paid shared parental leave for freelancers.

PRS Foundation chief executive Vanessa Reed, who will present the manifesto in Brussels today, said: ‘Alongside the overwhelming interest in the Keychange Festival pledge, the manifesto highlights the valuable contributions Keychange artists and innovators are making to the wider reaching debate about what needs to change in the industry.

‘Collaborative action and a wholesale look at how we can nurture and sustain a broader range of talent in our workforce underpins their proposals. I hope this first set of recommendations provides a powerful starting point for further debate about the best practical steps towards tangible and lasting improvements which will benefit everyone.’

The groundbreaking, international Keychange initiative was originally set up as a talent development programme for 60 artists and innovators, and has quickly become a global movement for festivals pledging to achieve a better gender balance across their stages.

Since launching in September 2017, over 140 festivals have signed the Keychange pledge towards achieving a 50/50 gender split across line-ups, conferences and commissions by 2022.

Alex Schulz, director of Reeperbahn Festival – a Keychange partner – said: ‘It’s been great to see how quickly awareness has spread amongst festivals across the world who’ve joined in with our collective pledge towards gender equality… The manifesto gives us a chance to reflect on challenges across other parts of the music industry which impact on the female artists and industry pros we’re supporting.’

Helen Sildna, director of Tallinn Music Week, added: ‘Supporting women to boldly choose their path and career in music is a way to both upgrade the industry, as well as to create next generation role models in a society, based on equal opportunities.

‘We were proud to achieve a gender balance at our conference this year and feel it’s just a kick-off to a new generation music industry – fit for the 21st century – ready to innovate, flourish and offer the exquisite form of artistic self expression that music is, to audiences across Europe and the globe.’

Keychange is led by PRS Foundation, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Musikcentrum Sweden, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Tallinn Music Week, Way Out West, Liverpool Sound City and Mutek.

Read the manifesto in full, here.