The idea for the documentary was imagined by Michelle Hunder, the producer of Her Sound, Her Story, as she discovered only 10 out of 182 Australian hip-hop artists were female – this is only 5.5%.
In 2018, solo female musicians or all female acts made up only about 21% of the top 100 most played songs on radio in Australia, while solo male musicians or all male acts made up about 52% (according to data from Aircheck analysing most played songs across 58 Australian radio stations).
And it is not just in Australia!
“Equality in the music industry definitely doesn’t exist, it’s male-dominated through and through,” Song writer Carla Marie Williams, who has written for artists including Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Craig David, told the Guardian news in 2018 in this article. This New York Times article also explores the surprising inequalities in the music industry.
To try to understand, it is important to look at perceived gender roles in society, as it people are generally a product of the values and ideas in their society. Traditionally, in western society over the last century, gender roles have suggested that men are seen as the more creative and ‘star’ performer, whereas women have more backup singer and devoted fan roles.
Feminism is largely understood to mean empowering women in order to have equality of genders. Ideas of what gender equality means have challenged values in society in different waves across the last century.
The “first wave” of feminism began in the late 19th century and focused essentially on women’s right to vote, and also to own property. That is, to be recognised as individuals within society.
Second wave feminism began in the 1960’s, and changed the social idea that women could only be housewives; concentrating on women’s rights at work and also access to birth control.
Third wave feminism began in the 1990’s and aimed at improving gender balance in the workplace and reducing sexual harassment.
Currently academics are claiming that in 2012 fourth wave feminism began. This current wave pushes for the empowerment of women through online movements such as #MeToo, and justice for the mistreatment of women. Fourth wave feminism is also focused on ideas of intersectionality and celebrating diverse humans and a turn away from social gender norms. In Australian the #MeNoMore movement is a calling for gender equality in the Australian Music Industry and began as an open letter in 2017 (read more about #MeNoMore here).
Globally, Gender Equality is a UN Sustainable Development goal.
Watch the scene from #-# (Weather scene)
What are some of the ways the documentary explores gender inequality? Share your ideas with a partner.
Write a brief paragraph explaining if you think gender equality and feminism are the same thing. Include a justification about which wave of feminism you think is the most important and why.
With a different partner, identify two ways have you witnessed “fourth wave feminism”.
In the documentary, 50% of music students are women, but only 20% of song writers are women. The documentary asks the question – where do all the women go? Explain your thoughts on this.
Should there be gender quotas at music festivals? Stage a class debate with affirmative and negative sides.
Read the article by ABC Triple J HACK Journalists: https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/by-the-numbers-2019-the-gender-gap-in-australian-music-revealed/10879066
Complete a PMI brainstorm evaluation of your research:
What is a “plus” of the data?
What is a “minus” of the data?
What is interesting about the data?
To submit to your teacher at the end of class, write 1 sentence on your opinion of this data and information: do you think it is important? Why or why not?