The TUC Women’s Conference was held in London on the weekend 9 March. Nikisha Reyes moved our motion on Black Women in Music – seconded by Raj Ford from NUJ. Sarah Williams moved our motion on Mothers & parents in the music industry – seconded by Natasha Hirst from NUJ. Lynne Henderson seconding an NUJ motion on online attacks on women journalists.
Black women in music
Black Lives in Music’s report ‘Being Black in the UK Music Industry’ exposed the structural racism that exists in the music industry and remains a barrier to career progression for Black musicians.
The report revealed:
- 89% of Black women have experienced barriers to progression
- 43% of Black women have felt the need to change their appearance because of their race/ethnicity
- 42% of Black women believe their mental wellbeing has declined since starting their music career.
When devising and delivering solutions to tackle racism, there must be a focus on intersectionality to tackle the multiple forms of inequality Black women face.
Conference called on the TUC to raise awareness of the need to decolonise MA Music Therapy training curriculums and entry requirements to produce more Black practitioners
And lobby the Government to:
- Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for companies with over 50 employees
- Widen gender pay gap reporting to include companies with over 50 employees
- Enact Section 14 of the Equality Act so that individuals can bring discrimination claims based on multiple protected characteristics
- Supply additional funding to tackle racial disparities in mental health
- Make the teaching of Black histories, achievements, and cultures mandatory in the school curriculum in England.
Mothers & parents in music
Conference notes that many women and parents have put their careers on hold due to caring responsibilities. Research by Pregnant then Screwed revealed that during the Covid-19 pandemic 72% of mothers worked fewer hours because of childcare issues.
The picture is bleaker in the entertainment sector. A survey by Parents & Carers in Performing Arts highlighted that during the Covid-19 pandemic:
- One in four women were doing 90% of the childcare and were struggling to work or to seek work
- 72% of parents and carers were considering abandoning their career
- D/deaf and disabled women and parents or those with long-term health conditions were twice as likely to have taken on full-time caring responsibilities.
The current systems we have in place to support mothers and parents are broken, especially as they apply to the self-employed.
With adequate support mothers and parents can have careers and raise a family.
Conference asked the TUC to lobby Government to:
- Subsidise childcare from six months old
- Extend Shared Parental Pay to self-employed workers
- Revise maternity leave as it applies to the self-employed
- Introduce a parental allowance for those who may not qualify for statutory pay.