Yesterday I made the pilgrimage from my north London home to Tobacco Dock, to attend the first ever BBC Introducing Live event. With a programme of music industry talks, a&r sessions and of course some live music, I spent the day listening to people from all corners of the industry, talking about their experiences and offering their advice. Having attended this sort of event before, I was very pleased to see that there was a panel dedicated to women in music. It was hosted by WomeninCtrl, an organisation founded by panellist Nadia Khan, who just a few days before had been announced as one of this year's additions to the Women in Music - Roll of Honour. Unsurprisingly, the audience was mostly made up of women and girls. Whilst it is imperative to change that men be a part of the conversation too, I was happy to be sat amongst other women, as a shared feeling of empowerment unfurled across the room.
Through all the years I've been involved in music, I have never worked in an environment that feels wholly supportive of women. It often feels like because there are so few women in the industry compared to men, that when we are doing the same creative things in the same space, we either have to be "one of the lads" and downplay our womanliness, or are pitted against each other. We're catty and bitchy and sassy and bossy, 'cause in business, there's only room for one woman at the top.
This is simply not true.
When we actually talk to each other, we encourage each other. We want to create those supportive spaces, and show other women and girls that there is room at the table for all of us. Over the course of this year, I've come across several organisations and groups that are doing just that. They're making space for women and girls, giving them a platform, and working together to even out the playing field.
Starting off as just an instagram channel, WomeninCtrl has begun hosting a wide range of events, putting a spotlight on women in the urban music scene. With a particular focus on MCs and Djs in the notoriously male-dominated UK grime and rap world, WomeninCtrl hosts all female radio takeovers, panels and talks, marches, and helps female artists in grime get the recognition they deserve.
Find them at @womeninctrl
Supported by the PRS Foundation's Open Fund, sheWrites is an organisation bringing together female writers, producers and engineers for week-long writing camps around the globe. Past camps have been held in London, LA, Berlin and Stockholm, where women and girls get to spend a week together writing and creating in the studio, unhindered by feelings of being the only woman in the room. Anyone can apply, and successful applicants will be contacted and invited to join the camp.
Find them at @weareshewrites www.shewritescamp.com
Women In Jazz
Women in Jazz does what it says on the tin, a true celebration of women in jazz! Whilst they are busy putting on events and hosting a radio show at Soho Radio (where they are in the middle of a six month residency), the women in jazz team are currently preparing a three day live event. The festival will showcase some of the best female jazz musicians in London, as well as having workshops for women, all led by some of the most talented musicians and DJs in the contemporary jazz scene.
Find them at @womenin_jazz
Girls I Rate
GIR is an organisation aimed at young women who work in, or are looking to work in, the creative industries. They recognise and celebrate those doing well in their fields, encourage collaboration between women, and empower young women to join creative industries. GIR puts on several events throughout the year, including their #GETHEARD A&R Listening events and their Arts Academy songwriting weekenders.
Find them at www.girlsirate.com @girlsirate
Ginger and Spice
Ginger and Spice (and everything nice, right?) is a new monthly club night organised, entirely by two women Phoebe and Charlie. They put on all-female line ups across a broad variety of genres. Having alredy featured music from the likes of Carmody, Bad Honey and Karima Francis, and even spoken word poetry from Molly Macpherson, tickets to the Ginger and Spice nights are currently FREE.
Find them at: @gingerandspicemusic
Ladies / Music / Pub
Ladies/music/pub is an online collective, bringing together women from all parts of the music industry, to share ideas, signpost women to industry job opportunities and encourages creative networking. They sometimes hold meet ups, were women get to connect with each other in person.
Find them at Facebook: Ladies/ Music / Pub @ladiesmusicpub
Foundation FM (the FM standing for femme) is a brand new radio show, hosted and produced by women, offering a female-led alternative to commercial radio. They echo the usual drive-time shows but to suit non-standard work hours, with a Brunch show (10am-1pm) and a Happy Hour show (5-7pm). Shows and content will champion underground music and culture.