Safe Spaces Now: UN Initiative For Women’s Safety In Music Industry
Anne-Marie, Clara Amfo, and Emily Eavis are among the music stars and industry figures who have signed an open letter condemning abuse at gigs and festivals.
A new initiative focused on protecting women’s safety in the music industry has been launched, with gender equality organisation UN Women UK and UK festival Strawberries & Creem at the helm.
Titled Safe Spaces Now, the project is calling on the music and events industries to commit to tackling harassment and creating safe spaces for women and marginalised groups.
It comes off the back of recent alarming statistics that more than 7 in 10 women have been sexually harassed in the UK, and over 40% of women under 40 have experienced sexual harassment at a live music event.
Male stars such as MNEK and Rudimental have also put their names to the initiative, which aims to protect women, girls and marginalised groups.
Launching the project, Claire Barnett, Executive Director of UN Women UK told BBC: “Live music is one of these places that should be such a space of escapism and joy, and after a year and a half of being locked up or not being able to see our friends and family, it’s a space that we want everybody to be able to enjoy.
“But so many, especially young women, but marginalised people of all ages, were saying, ‘I am nervous though’, particularly after the news of the past year. ‘Yeah, I might be drinking again after not having had a drink in quite a long time and I am worried about my own safety.’
“So that’s why we saw a real opportunity and reached out to nightclubs and festivals and promoters and labels, and [are] also really thinking about the fact that this problem is definitely a thing within the industry as well as externally.
“Women artists, and women who have been in recording studios, have told us that they’ve also had bad experiences as well.”
Cambridge festival Strawberries & Creem is the first event to sign the pledge and commit to piloting a safe spaces scheme at its event next month.
They include safer routes out of toilets and venues, addressing abusive behaviour by implementing a code of conduct, and training wellbeing volunteers and staff to recognise potential abuse and how to respond. The festival will also work with local taxi companies to help ensure people get home safely.