It’s time for a change.
There is no doubt that female artistes experience more challenges in the music industry than their male counterparts. The systemic roadblocks that exist have made it difficult for women to thrive. This has led to a huge gender disparity that needs to be remedied. Here are a few suggestions on how that can be achieved.
1.Reign in on the sexual predators
A lot of budding female artistes usually end up frustrated because men that are supposed to help them get to the next level have a habit of asking for sexual favours. From promoters to presenters to fellow artistes, the rot runs deep. Sometime last year, singer Vivian opened up regarding the kind of harassment she has gone through in the industry saying:
I have been disappointed by the tools of the trade in my career. Notwithstanding, the sexual abuse and heightened objectification that I have received in plenty especially at the inception stage of my career. It is true that some music producers take advantage of female talent then, of course, a few DJs, and even some pioneer stakeholders of our music scene.
2. Introduce laws to protect women in music.
The music industry is still very much male-dominated. It’s a long stretch but just the way people were calling for the media to make sure they incorporate Kenyan music in their playlists, the same should be done for music by women. Songs by female artists should be played more so as to reach more ears.
3. Set up female-only projects.
For example, Coke Studio has already done this. They have promised to air a female-only show later this month. Everyone from instrumentalists to set-designers will be female. The same needs to be replicated elsewhere. Female-only concerts will be a great idea as this will enable lesser known artists to get a platform that they wouldn’t otherwise get.
4. Equal pay
We should reach a point where male musicians and female musicians of the same level are paid the same. I am not saying that Noti Flow should be paid the same as Nyashinski but at least someone like Akothee or Victoria Kimani should right? According to songstress Habida,
“This is the reason why few women sing secular music. It is quite unfortunate that women in the music industry are still not yet taken seriously. Most of the time we end being paid less than what male singers earn,” she said.
Good remuneration will encourage more women to pursue music. They will do so because they know they can live off their hustle. It won’t be a thankless task.
5. Place more women in positions of power.
Women are known to extend a hand to other women. If we have more women in charge of shows, festivals or agencies, female artists would get fair deals. However, there has been a huge gap in the number of women in the music industry around the world.
In a recent New York Times article titled Gender Diversity in the Music Industry? The Numbers Are Grim
During last year’s Grammy awards it was noted that:
Of the 2 767 songwriters credited, 12.3% were women. Female producers were even fewer at just 2% in a subset of 300 songs in the same period, the study found.
If this happens in more advanced countries it goes to show that in Kenya, the situation is nothing to write home about.