Representation of Women and Non-Binary People in the Music Industry

It is first and foremost important for me to state that I consider the documentary “Their time” to be a remarkable reflection on what is needed in contemporary music. The topic of female DJs is an interesting one to me as the type of music in itself has been up and coming since the early 90s. DJs and DJ culture are highly popular in contemporary society. However, this specific type of music only tends to focus on its male artists. DJs are essential cogs in the music and radio business. Not only do they put the best records on rotation, but they also make artists pop and turn underground players into international superstars. They’re sort of front-facing A&Rs, and they also make life and parties all the more fun. We must look to the women who are making waves and who are about to take over this male-dominated music business. Not only are they oozing with talent, but they also have a common goal: to make the industry safer, more inclusive, and just generally more fun for all women and non-binary people.

According to research done by DJaneMag, only 7% of DJs are female and 0% were non-binary. DJs were in the lineups of 20 top festivals worldwide in 2018. This is a general trend that is not dependent on country or music style, and the data for 2019 was almost identical. As for clubs, the percentage of female DJs follows a similar pattern, with 11%, whereas the top superclubs are hosted by an average of 6% female DJs. However, there are no statistics to show that women are less talented or capable of doing the job, so what is going wrong? The music industry is constantly evolving, there is no denying it, but there is still a long way to go for gender equality. The pay gap disparity for women and lack of representation in the industry is thrift. These women below are smashing ceilings and breaking down barriers so that the girls who come thereafter won’t have to. I have always found that music surrounds my life and the life of everyone, yet even though we are in the supposed “third wave” of feminism, we are still ignoring the fact that music is male-dominated. I had the privilege of living with a female DJ with whom I am a great friend. I recorded a set she did at a nightclub in Brighton. The set was to demonstrate the young DJs in Brighton, she was the only woman to perform that night, and no queer people insight. I connected with a London-based group, Rhythm sisters. Who focuses on uplifting women and non-binary people. They hold workshops for up-and-coming artists to perfect their skills and have a safe space to present their music amongst people like them.

Film and words by Katya Brooke

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