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Women's History Month 2018: Time's Up

No-one should experience or fear sexual harassment, abuse, bullying or discrimination at work. Time's up. The Musicians' Union (MU) set up safespace@theMU.org for everyone in the music industry to share their experiences in confidence. We will listen.

It’s the start of Women’s History Month in a year that has already been declared the year of women.

The Silence Breakers won Time’s Person of the Year. Artists like Lady Gaga, Kesha and Paloma Faith are speaking up. We at the Musicians’ Union (MU) continue our fight for safe workplaces for everyone.

People everywhere are mobilising, inspired by the Women’s March – joining the #MeToo movement and calling #TimesUp on inappropriate behaviour.

It’s time the wider music industry took notice.

You don’t need us to tell you that abuses of power occur everywhere, and the music industry is no exception. Since November last year, people – mostly women – have been sharing their experiences with us in confidence at the MU via a dedicated email address: safespace@theMU.org.

We’ve heard from female musicians at the top of their game who, on arrival at a gig, were issued with hotpants to wear.

From musicians forced to pee in front of male colleagues because the driver didn’t want to stop the tour bus for too long.

From musicians who had received sexually explicit messages from people in positions of power.

From musicians who consider this normal, because it happens all the time.

One musician told us she wasn’t sure if she had been sexually assaulted or not and she had to Google it to check.

A number of women have contacted us because they have experienced rape and sexual abuse.

No-one should experience or fear sexual harassment, abuse, bullying or discrimination at work.

It’s time to act as a community of musicians to end sexism, sexual harassment, exploitation, abuse and discrimination in our industry. We need nothing short of wholesale cultural change, but it can be done.

To all those in the music industry who don’t think there is a problem, we say time is up.

The MU regularly takes on cases for members, and we offer legal advice and support if you have experienced any of the above.

We are also collecting experiences of sexism, sexual harassment, abuse, bullying and discrimination in the music industry so we can build up a picture of where the problems are and how we can address them.

Share yours in confidence – email safespace@theMU.org. We will listen.

Published: 02/03/2018

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