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New Statistics on Sexual Harassment Chime With Those in Music Industry

According to a survey for UN Women UK, four-fifths of young women in the UK have been subjected to sexual harassment, ringing true with our research showing how endemic harassment is in the music industry.

Photo ofJohn Shortell
By John Shortell Published: 26 March 2021 | 10:57 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
Photograph of a woman sat outdoors, smiling and strumming on an acoustic guitar.
All of these steps women take to avoid sexual harassment have a wider knock on effect for women’s equality. Photo credit: Shutterstock

It’s shocking but unfortunately not surprising that this survey has shown that almost all women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment.

Our own work on sexual harassment has shown us that it is endemic in our industry and an expected part of women’s working lives. Our own survey in 2019 revealed:

  • New research reveals almost half (48%) of musicians have experienced sexual harassment at work
  • Almost two-thirds (61%) feel they are at risk because they work on a freelance basis
  • Over four in five (85%) victims of harassment did not report it, primarily due to the culture of the industry

But, this isn’t just about sexual harassment, this is about women modifying their behaviours, the way they look, where they walk, turning down work and in some cases leaving the industry altogether to avoid being sexually harassed.

All of these steps women take to avoid sexual harassment have a wider knock on effect for women’s equality, freedom and autonomy, career progression and economic parity.

Women shouldn’t have to take these precautions to protect themselves. We must work together as an industry and as a society to make sure women can fully participate in safe workplaces, and a safe society.

The MU's Safe Space scheme

The MU's Safe Space scheme exists to provide a safe space for musicians to share instances of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the music industry.

You can report your own experiences or cases that you have witnessed, using our anonymous online reporting tool. Alternatively, you can email or contact your Regional Office for advice and assistance.

All calls and emails are treated in the strictest confidence and no action will be taken on your behalf without your prior consent.

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