International Festivals Pledge to Decrease Gender Gap in Entertainment
At an event in the UK on Monday, a total of 35 music festivals and conferences committed to the Keychange initiative, which aims for an equal representation of females in the music industry.
These 35 joined a small number of other festivals who had previously made the pledge, bringing the total number of commitments to the initiative to 45 music festivals and conferences. In their pledge to Keychange, which is organized by the PRS Foundation -- a UK music development charity, the organizers of the festivals promised to have women make up fifty percent of their program lineups by 2022.
"The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners' idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change. I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone," PRS CEO Vanessa Reed said on Monday.
Some of the founding partners of the project include Germany’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Iceland Airways Festival, and Tallinn Music Week in Estonia. Poland’s Katowice JazzArt Festival and BBC Proms, the UK’s premiere classical music festival, are two of the newcomers. Major festivals which featured rock music were largely absent.
A full list of the festivals which pledged can be found in a press release on the PRS Foundation website.
The pledges come as the entertainment industry is trying harder to reduce the gender gap within itself. In 2016, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its intentions to double number of minorities and women who are members by 2020.
The “2017 Hollywood Diversity Report,” released by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, analyzed 1,200 television programs during the 2014-15 season, and 168 theatrical films in 2015. The analysis showed that while film still needs to improve drastically, television is becoming more diverse, partly because the large amount of cable channels and digital networks means that more actors are needed. Although modest, the amount of female leads in both broadcast and cable television shows has gone up by 2.4%.
Women are also speaking up about a need for equality in the entertainment world outside of caucasian territories. On February 10, a panel discussing the challenges women face in the music industry was held in Zanzibar, East Africa as part of Sauti za Busara, a music festival.
Carola Kinasha, who moderated the panel, said that although there is not much data on the status of women in music in Africa, only 16% of leaders in the UK music business are women. “Clearly, there’s a major issue with male domination in the music industry,” Kinasha said. Her ideas and the rest of the panel show that the gender gap in entertainment transcends race and nationality. Working on this issue has the power to unify women across the globe.