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Announcing their findings in a wide variety of languages, femalepressure, a 56-country network representing hundreds of women in music from bookings to DJing, have put the electronic music scene into numbers. In a report formally released today, they quantify the sinking suspicion that labels, festivals, and media outlets are badly lacking in female representation.

Just how few women are there in top festivals, label releases, and the media? Few enough that when the numbers break 10%, the results “can be considered above average.”

Press Release (English) [femalepressure]

Full March 2013 Report [PDF; worth reading in its entirety to see where these numbers come from]

The report is, perhaps, not perfect. American festivals, for instance, are limited to CommuniKey and Electric Daisy Festival (though I suspect if more of the so-called Aerican “EDM” scene were included, the picture would only get worse). It’s best thought of as a sampling, particularly in regards to the handful of press outlets surveyed.

But that almost doesn’t matter. The numbers are so far skewed as to suggest that any accounting reveals a devastatingly-clear trend. Comprehensive or not, the message is still obvious: no, it’s not your imagination. In fact, the only part of the press release with which I’d strong disagree is this: “the results are shocking and disheartening.” Disheartening, perhaps, but I’m sorry to say, the results look about dead-on with what I’d expect.

I would go further. I often hear people say they feel the electronic or digital music scene isn’t alive, that it’s contracting or becoming less interesting. But part of what make a scene feel alive are growth and change. This kind of dimension, then, is both a symptom and cause of contraction. And I love the medium enough to believe it shouldn’t be that way.

My question is, where do we go from here?

As one of the white males (ahem), I can strongly say this: I believe the climate around gender in society is ultimately detrimental to all. One side effect of strong gender roles is to create norms that can restrict everyone. That seems the antithesis of the spirit of musical self-expression, in which music could be an outlet for playing with one’s own identity, or being able to express personal feelings beyond the limits of what society might allow. That could be everything from the clothes you wear to the kind of music you make. Most of all, I don’t think anyone should feel guilty or self-conscious about their own identity, least of all when you’re born that way.

A metric is a good wake-up call; I hope it leads to a more nuanced discussion about what to do. Just recognizing a problem often isn’t enough, so it’s worth considering what the next steps might be. I’ve been in on discussions in which curators – indeed, in which female curators – lamented that they weren’t programming more women. I’ve also noticed that other categories are frequently left out of the discussion. Transgender individuals have made irreplaceable contributions to electronic music, and indeed CDM itself in its few years of operation; I would hate it if people who identified as transgender felt they weren’t valued, too. And that’s only gender identity; talk to anyone in this scene, and you’ll find almost everyone has at one time or another felt out of place or excluded in their social life. (That’s not a criticism of this report: you can bet that the same trends that suggest a lack of diversity leave all kinds of people feeling left out.)

So, I can only say, I hope people don’t only feel disheartened. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I can say this: yes, this concerns me, too. Yes, I feel personally responsible for having contributed to the problem, or, very often, simply having failed to get to know more artists. No, I don’t think I’m doing a good enough job – not at helping diversity, not at discovering music in general. (A big goal for me personally has been to better improve coverage of music and artists on CDM. The advantage of running a daily site is, I can every day say, this isn’t good enough; I hope today will be better than yesterday — and repeat. I suppose that’s probably how I feel about everything I do.)

I wonder how different this community would be if we tried to get out of our own heads with every artist we got to know, to try to be more compassionate with discovering other musical perspectives generally.

For its part, femalepressure isn’t just talking about the problems; they’re also actively building their network and sharing loads of great artists and other individuals. It’s worth following their Facebook page to find a wealth of artists they know – if for no other reason than finding new music.

https://www.facebook.com/femalepressure

The other article I read this week that I really appreciated, from tech blog The Verge, examined women trying to break into the startup scene. Replace “looking for funding” with “looking for a gig” or “looking for a record deal,” and I think a lot of the criticisms there, too, might hold:

Money matters: why women founders struggle in Silicon Valley

I don’t doubt that I’m sometimes lazy in finding new music. But discovering artists and music, extending the circles of people we know and care about, should be the opposite of disheartening. It should be part of the pleasure of being in the music community. Identity politics matter, but partly because diversity is a deeper issue than identity alone – that’s why we make music, presumably, because we each have our own voice.

We could build a more welcoming, inclusive musical scene. We should never feel that resources are too scarce, that there isn’t room for more people. Music benefits from criticism, from selection and curation. But it should also be limitless. I always thought this quote from Kermit the Frog in The Muppets Take Manhattan summed up what arts programming was to me:

“That’s it! That’s what’s been missing from the show! That’s what we need! “More frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and… and whatever! You’re not gonna watch the show, you’re gonna be in the show! Come on, everyone!”

That’s how I feel; I’m curious to hear about what you feel. And because nearly every idea of what and who to cover on this site has come from readers, I hope none of you is shy about sending in suggestions. We can’t respond to everyone – very often great stuff can’t get a response – but it does matter that it shows up in our inbox.

One addendum, as I reflect on comments: consider this. If any group of people, whether by gender or geography or background, has been under-represented or disproportionately disinterested in a field, those may be the people from whom the greatest future transformation could come. In electronic music making, we’re not by any means an “average” group of society, so we may not look like the society as a whole. That means there’s greater opportunity to produce communities that deviate from society as a whole – hopefully in positive ways.

To put it succinctly:
The people who have been absent could bring the greatest change – and the fact that electronic music makers don’t always look like the population as a whole can be, in the end, an opportunity, rather than only an impediment to diversity.

For a different take on this…

Neither this report nor my own writing her deals with the question of what would determine whether women (or anyone else) is attracted to electronic music making in the first place. Madeleine Bloom does:

Why Not More Women Make Electronic Music and How This Could Change

Madeleine puts forward a theory for what would keep women from making music – having to do with typical gender perception and clichés.

Note that while the femalepressure release explicitly says that they believe white male journalists, label operators, and curators are excluding women, even intentionally (or in keeping with social norms), Madeleine Bloom observes that Ableton Live users a couple of years ago were only 7% female. (That’s not to say that the press, labels, and festivals off the hook, of course, as that would presumably contribute to reduced demand for production software. It does suggest that this is multi-dimensional.)

  • Lebron

    I want to first that I am not a troll and I’m asking this sincerely… Isnt it possible that women just arent as interested in making electronic music? I know its not politically correct to say but I think its sufficiently obvious that men and women differ from one another in many ways, and thats not to pigeonhole either sex. I believe that if there is discrimination going on as far as booking female acts at Bowery Ballroom then that is a problem, but if there are less women in electronic music couldnt it be that they’re busy doing better things? Being a DJ or producer doesnt take the top spot for most substantive or praise worthy profession.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I decided not to cover that angle, but it’s not at all politically incorrect to ask that (or shouldn’t be). I updated the story with Madeleine Bloom’s editorial, where she does cover that question.

      Of course, on behalf of CDM, I believe absolutely everyone should be interested in it, because it’s my job to try to convince them. ;) (Seriously, that’s part of why I think I can’t answer this in an unbiased manner. I’m trying to bring as many people – men, women, children – to the fold as I possible can.)

    • Daniel Ottini Music

      I agree with most of what Madeleine says and I think the discussion is a valid one, however what I would like to know (and excuse me if I have missed this stat somewhere else in these arguments) is what percentage of female audience does “Electronic Music” have (I could also ask what “Electronic Music” is any more, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion). Does someone like Autechre have a significant female fan base? Is it possible that (like heavy metal) it’s just a male dominated genre? Do we really need to change that (or can we even expect to)? I think the more females who listen to “Electronic Music” the more likely some would want to make it (and will do so whatever obstacle). I don’t how we get there – musical taste is a very personal thing. BTW, I number both Wendy Carlos and Terre Thaemlitz in my record collection – both whom I started listening to without concern of what gender they were (and never really thought about until this post) – let’s never forget that it is the music and not the artist that needs to be judged by anyone. Better one valid artist than 1000 held up for token value.

    • Lebron

      Well, on that note, I think you do that, and thats why your site is one of my favorites.

    • Aaron

      Can’t help but notice that Bloom’s article about Gender cliché opens with a poor male gender cliché that its all about the chicks. Also, no one picks up a synthesizer because it’s “cool”. DJs however…. =P
      Fact is there are just very few female electronic producers (my bias here does not include DJs.. which there are more of but who cares), of those there are.. they are often recognized and appreciated. I would argue the direct opposite using the same statistics that were used in this article to support the notion that women performers often get a shake in a world that is mostly filled by men, whereas men don’t have the same benefit because there are so many damn many of them fighting over the same scraps.

    • Aaron

      Oh… of course, i would only be making that argument to be a jerk on International Women’s Day =P

    • foljs

      “”"Can’t help but notice that Bloom’s article about Gender cliché opens with a poor male gender cliché that its all about the chicks.”"”

      Cliche? From 20+ years of reading pop artists biographies/interviews and such (and taking some) I can assure you it’s not a cliche at all.

    • Aaron

      no, its cliché… and besides, if you want to apply it to guitarists that’s one thing entirely separate from electronic music. but no matter how you spin it, it is just as cliché as any other stereotype.. which is what it was.

    • ALLIGATOR CHOMP CHOMP

      “Political correctness” isn’t about bullying away any questioning of whether patriarchy is the factor here. Or shouldn’t be. Remember the “75 cents for every male dollar” magic trick we’re still dealing with, even after debunking a long time ago.

      It’s not clear that discrimination is at play here. Time to act? Sure, if the action you’re calling for is to look further into it.

    • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

      If you’re not convinced I’d encourage you to ask women and trust their responses. I’m telling you as a woman that there have been a variety of experiences amongst us but in general it’s tougher to be taken seriously and gain access to the knowledge and networks.

      And the 75 cents bit has never been debunked; Consider the information from the 2003 US Census: “[T]he life-time earnings for a male with a professional degree were roughly forty percent (39.59%) higher than those of a female with a professional degree.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States#Education_and_gender) When broken down among racial and ethnic lines the statistics become even bleaker for Black and Latino workers (and let’s not forget that those communities are where many of the electronic music forms got their start). Point being: Income’s a factor as well, then; less to spend on gear, music, etc.

      Patriarchy is one factor among many. It’s an intersectional system which replicates many of the same issues present in general society.

    • ALLIGATOR CHOMP CHOMP

      If I feel the evidence is lacking, you encourage me to ask someone for an anecdote? Pretty good!

      Also the neat thing about the pay gap is that is disappears when you adjust for particular professions, instead of just lumping them all together as “professionals.”

      Patriarchy is radical feminism and shouldn’t come into a discussion among civilized people.

    • markLouis

      ” Isnt it possible that women just arent as interested in making electronic music?” — Yes, it is possible but it doesn’t seem to be true. If I remember right, studies of gender in computer-lab usage didn’t show a bias until people had to sign-up (a kind of competition) for computer time, then women dropped out. And one of the pioneers of electronic music was Suzanne Ciani, and her experiences don’t seem built on gender bias, just the reality that women have passions for art and expression the same as men. It’s possible women aren’t interested in making electronic music, but it seems more probable there are other dynamics shaping the gender landscape.

    • Lebron

      I’m sure that lack of role models and societal attitudes do play a role in this, I’m just questioning how much of a role it plays and bringing up another (it seems to me) logical explanation. I believe societal attitudes hold (some) women back, whether consciously or unconsciously, from realizing their full potential artistically. If we lived in a world in which that was not the case, however, I believe that women would tend to branch in a slightly different (yet equally worthy) direction from men, and I think thats a good thing.

      In my own life, in New York, with a multitude of creative women who don’t seem afraid to blaze new paths, I encounter relatively few who are interested in pursuing electronic music compared to men.

    • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

      It is possible, but then the next question is: why aren’t women more interested? I’d argue that it has less to do with the genre(s) and more to do with the same social barriers we experience in other areas, in music or other fields.

      The issues of networking, breaking in to the scene, and being taken seriously are things that often discourage us before we have a chance to get started. It’s not so much “Big Festival X isn’t booking women,” as it is “Women aren’t being welcomed, mentored and developed as artists and DJs from the bottom up”.

    • renzu

      I remember reading an article in Scientific American that suggested the male gender is heavily predisposed, for unknown reasons, toward an interest in “systems” and “systemizing”, supposedly independent of cultural pressure. One can easily infer that to include things like mastering Ableton Live or (more generally) music production.
      http://docs.autismresearchcentre.com/papers/2012_BC%202012_SciAm.pdf

      The article linked in CDM, “Why Not More Women Make Electronic Music and How This Could Change”, cites the Ableton Live usage base consisting of 7% women. A popular tutorial video on YouTube I made, “20 Ableton Live Tips & Tricks in 8 Minutes”, also reports its viewers consisting of 6.9% women vs men.

      Just looking through my own music library, which mostly consists of introverted, production-heavy electronic studio music, the only album I have from an actual woman producer is a Japanese pop album. I’m not trying to select against women in my music discovery, but yeah. I dunno. I get the impression that, for whatever reason, only men seem to be interested in making “introverted, production-heavy electronic studio music” of the Flying Lotus & Autechre & Massive Attack & Machine Drum & etc. variety. The forces involved in shaping that seem to be both biological and cultural.

    • lemmings

      Well I think it’s not going to say anything by just looking at one genre of music. If you look at all musicians in every sort of circle of music and see how many of them are women vs. men then we would get a clearer picture of which genres are more female dominated. It’s possible that there are less women musicians in general, and because electronic introverted music is already a niche then there won’t be a lot of women making it. I suspect that this is in fact the case. And this would be due to the same reasons women are less predominant in most career fields. Lack of strong female role models in our society, societal attitudes, etc.

    • Haiku Heartcore

      i would say it is an assumption that we are not interested.. more of the fact is that we intimidate the males that already dominate a scene.. this is coming from a female producer/dj who has worked with this problem for 5 years…

  • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

    Peter thank you for bringing this issue onto CDM; hopefully we’ll see an interesting conversation. One note: the preferred nomenclature according to general usage among our community as well as the standard according to the AP stylebook is that individuals are “transgender”, not “transgendered”. It’s a small grammatical thing but a significant one: transgender is something I am, not something that happened to me. Thanks.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That makes perfect sense – and thanks for speaking up on that; I’ve corrected those references! And further evidence that an answer about language can be found in the AP style book. ;)

  • dustinw

    In IT there are similar issues with Women being under represented. There have been things like: http://ladieslearningcode.com/ to help get women (and teenage girls) more interested.

    @Lebron, what you are saying sounds possible but historically under represented groups don’t start joining in until there are more role models and it often takes some proactive action to get those role models in place (this has been show with Doctors, Engineers,etc.). Of course this assumes that any systemic issues/barriers of sexism/gender-ism are removed (and by removed I mean minimized since it’s very difficult to eradicate).

    My opinion: what EDM needs is a couple of Female Superstars, so that all the young ladies can say hey I could do that (or even she’s crap, I could do better). Right now I can think of any Female EDM artists that have the mainstream success of Srilex/Deadmau5/Daft Punk/Chemical Brothers/etc. etc.

    • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

      “My opinion: what EDM needs is a couple of Female Superstars, so that all the young ladies can say hey I could do that (or even she’s crap, I could do better).”

      I think this would help with the “pull” at the top, but it wouldn’t address the “push” at the bottom, i.e. it wouldn’t help women get started and work past those frustrating early barriers of finding community and learning the craft. But I agree, it would be nice. I’d love to see someone like Imogen Heap become as big as the artists you mentioned.

    • Philip Conway

      Well, that’s just it. Lots of female musicians like and use electronic sounds but few would identify as being ‘producers’ of any sort. There are loads of female artists making electronic music but their role rarely seems to be that of the ‘producer.’ They tend to be singer-songwriters who maybe dabble in production — or that’s how it seems. Maybe it’s not the reality in the studio but the way it is perceived.

      A few famous role models would make a big difference. In that respect it’s probably just a matter of time. It’ll happen eventually (though that’s no excuse for sitting around and waiting).

    • guest

      I think Lady Ga Ga might be female. You don’t have to like her music to see it’s talented.

    • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

      GaGa is a woman. She also doesn’t produce her own music as far as I know and therefore isn’t someone to use as an example. Likewise, I’d love to include Bjork amongst women in electronic music (and certainly she’s been hands-on in shaping her sound) but she defers to Mark Bell, Nellee Hooper, Matmos, etc. for the actual beats.

      Side note, “they” is the appropriate pronoun in cases where gender isn’t determined, while “it” is dehumanizing and as such is discouraged.

    • guest

      You were so keen to find fault that you misread my comment. Of course Lady Ga Ga is female that’s my point. Also ‘it’ refers to music. Music doesn’t have a gender. Get off the horse, white knight.

    • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

      Music isn’t talented, the *creator* of the music is. It was the phrasing which threw me off.

      Also do forgive me if I was a bit reactionary, but consider that it’s rather common to dehumanize and offend trans people (of which I am one) with the choice of “it” instead of “he” or “she”. Add to that the history of the rumors about GaGa’s gender and it strikes me as inflammatory.

      That’s the context of my response. If that doesn’t reflect your intention, so be it.

  • Philip Conway

    One question that this begs is: If women are so radically underrepresented in electronic music why are they not similarly scarce in other forms of music? Or, what is different about electronic music compared to other forms of music that don’t have such a dearth of female artists?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No question. I just think we can let academics come up with some complex analysis of what it is intrinsically about the music that might attract different genders. (That could get esoteric, if you like – Men are from Mixolydian, Women are from Lydian…)

      But if you’re a curator, running a label, running a blog (cough), or even just making music, remember that that isn’t your starting point – assuming you love what you’re doing, I would think you’d want to introduce other people to what you’re doing.

      For instance, assume you’re passionate about stamp collecting, and most stamp collectors are suburban older white guys. (I’m making that up; apologies to actual stamp collectors and your demographics.)

      But if you really care about stamp collecting, you go out and try to convince everyone that it’s great. You should actually try to ignore that existing skew when you do so – hey, you really, *really* love stamp collecting so you want to share it with everyone, not just with people who look like you. And, actually, if you’re featuring, uh, celebrity stamp collectors, you would absolutely try to go out an actively promote people who aren’t only suburban older white guys. That’s not just some sort of liberal affirmative action for stamp collectors; the whole point would be that that’d be a lot *less boring* and by virtue of being less boring, good for your love of stamp collecting.

      But you’d have to do more than that. You’d want to change the venues in which people were exposed to stamp collecting. If the stamp collecting conventions are getting dry and dull, you might need to create a different kind of event, just to reach new people.

      And, in fact, this to me is the very definition of curation, journalism, marketing, event programming, and community building, which we all do in some measure with music the moment we leave our studios and make it a social activity.

      I could go on… assuming you love something, and assuming you love lots of different kinds of people, it seems you’ll want to share that with lots of people.

      You will never, ever get demographic numbers that exactly match the population as a whole. So these kinds of numbers are never your final metric – that should be your passion, and it isn’t quantifiable in this way.

      But I think passion will drive people to build communities that change and grow, and if they aren’t actively doing that, then yes, something’s probably amiss.

    • Philip Conway

      I apologise. I’m somewhat ‘academic’ so I’m interested in ‘why.’ :) Though I completely agree with you with regard to what can be done. Certainly no one is in a position to just ‘fix’ the issue but there’s plenty that anyone can do to ameliorate it, piecemeal. The first step is to recognise the situation, which your articles have done. Keep up the good work!

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Heh, I am actually also an academic in some sense, so… ;)

      Both questions are important. I suppose it’s helpful on some level to ignore some of the ‘why’ when thinking about how to attract new people – paradoxical as that may seem – only because getting overly hung up on it may make you fail to focus on what makes the music attractive in the first place.

  • guest

    This is tangential and anecdotal, and the plural of anecdote is not data etc. But working at an art college I’ve so far been involved in the education of about 600+ young people all of whom are interested in media production. The genders are near equal at entry (which is a good start).

    Very few people choose sound and music over the visual arts, the numbers of ‘soundies’ are small to begin with. Female students seem drawn to storytelling and narrative and see film and photography as a better way to share and socialise their creativity. The soundies are a more self contained lot, tucked away in studios and perhaps (just perhaps) this is part of the drawback if you have a more sociable ideal. We’re working to more concerts and live events and I’d be interested to see if that helps music be more appealing for all.

    • markLouis

      “Very few people choose sound and music over the visual arts”–These genres simply might be meaningless these days. If a woman writes and produces, say, a television commercial and the soundtrack uses interesting sound design and music created with synths, I think that’s what we’re talking about with women getting involved with electronic music. Focusing exclusively on stuff like, for instance, George Martin recording audio for the Beatles from fifty years ago is hardly what intelligent and creative and passionate young men and young women would want in the present world where multi-media is so easily accessible and powerful for art and expression (and commerce). That you see something like gender equality at entry into the “overall” field is wonderful.

  • ennoson

    hi peter,

    check out pamelia kurstin…originally from california and living for some years now in vienna.one of the best musicians at the theremin(even mr. moog himself was impressed).
    nice day to you

  • Attic

    The women who do embrace music technology tend to be real good at it. Imogen Heap comes to mind. I wont comment on this link but something bothers me about this portrayal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RExGy6jx6kU

  • foljs

    “”" they quantify the sinking suspicion that labels, festivals, and media outlets are badly lacking in female representation.”"”

    Maybe women are just not that interested in the whole BS scene?

    Tons of young men that go to become DJs, Producers, Singers etc are mostly doing it to attract the opposite sex (we’re not talking about high art here, we’re talking about pop-culture).

    Maybe women are not that shallow/insecure, or can get a boyfriend more easily!

    It’s not like that the world needs 80% of the output of those male “artists” anyway. Or that creating (electronic or other) music is some unalienable right that all people should not only take advantage of but also enjoy.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I think that’s a fairly cynical view of music making. I don’t doubt that people go out there with that mistaken impression, but the men and women I know and care about and have friendships with are all genuinely passionate about music making – and realistic about the demands that makes on their personal life.

    • Jim Aikin

      I tend to agree with foljs, Peter. As an armchair evolution theorist, I’m convinced that music, dance, poetry, and sundry other art forms originated to some extent (not entirely) in male fitness displays. Music and dance are not unlike athletic competitions. The male who does the most dazzling dance steps, can play the log drum the loudest and longest, or can memorize and sing 59 verses of the tribe’s epic hymn without faltering or stammering WILL attract a disproportionate amount of attention from females of breeding age. (If you don’t believe me, ask Mick Jagger.) To attract the attention of eligible males, women do different kinds of stuff, that’s all. I’m speaking here strictly in terms of our ancestral environment in sub-Saharan Africa, where our species spent approximately 6 million years fine-tuning these patterns.

      I totally support female and transgender artists! I hope we all do. In offering this analysis, I’m not attempting in any way to denigrate women as artists. I’m just saying, the imbalance is not ALL due to male arrogance. Some of it is, sure. But I think that statistic of 7% of Ableton users being women tells us something. Nothing is stopping women from buying the software! Assuming that thousands of women who would _like_ to learn to use Live are giving up before they even start, because the prospect of trying to succeed in a male-dominated field is too discouraging — I don’t think we can assume that. (In fact, I’d say that’s a male chauvinist assumption, big-time.) If more women are not getting into Live, it’s a reasonable assumption that, possessing free will and a certain amount of disposable income, they’re finding other things that they’d rather do.

  • a

    It seems there’s a hell of a lot of societal pressure against women being introverted and asocial, as well as seriously pursuing non-academic creative musical endeavors, electronic or otherwise.

    Plus, our society is comfortable with women in sexualized, objectifying roles. I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to get put in that position.

    Someone should run the numbers on what percentage of youtube comments remark on a female musician’s looks versus male musicians. Even if you limited it to the good looking male musicians, I suspect the there would be many more overall comments about women.

    Or you can hide your gender and put up with default male pronouns. Actually, it’d be a good exercise to consciously use female pronouns when talking to anonymous people on line, at least for a day.

  • a

    Also, EDM = techno, house, and disco without those pesky blacks or gays. It’s not a simple matter of involving more women to fix the narrowness of EDM.

  • H.Wood

    Two of the best Techno promoters in Ireland are women, and there aren’t *that* many Techno promoters!

  • Humboldt

    I am a mentor working with high school students on music production after school at a small non-profit, and almost all of the inspired and productive people using our studio are female. They’re writing and producing tracks and playing out. The future is bright!

  • @Therematrix

    Thanks for very interesting article.

    Re the 7% figure from Ableton: I sometimes chose to not disclose my gender to software companies. I’m pretty sure I’m down as something gender neutral on Ableton’s list. I am, however, female. I’m a composer, I make a living from my work. I program, compose and produce my own music (and build some of my own instruments). Peter has been kind enough to feature my work now and then.

    Those making essentialist arguments about women and tech – please could you show me your peer reviewed evidence? I would genuinely be interested to see it. Meanwhile, here’s a thought: Even if disparities between men and women in electronic music are down to nature, not nurture, all we can actually conclude is that men are more suited to the electronic music culture we have now. Who knows how electronic music would develop if we have more women and trans gender people at its core. How very wonderful it would be to transported to more diverse creative territory because the music is coming from more diverse composers.

    I’m very happy as an electronic composer and performer – it’s what makes me tick. And I’m part of a mutually supportive network of creative people who make my working life joyful. However, to get the ball rolling, here are three changes I’d like to see:

    1) A speedy improvement to the gender make-up of electronic music festivals and tech panels. If you’re running an event in the summer or autumn of 2013, it’s not too late to address this issue. Femalepressure is spot on.

    2) More thoughtful representation of female artists in electronic music blogs and magazines. This is a call for equality of cultural currency. I’m a hacker. When my male peers are photographed in magazines, they’re often venerated for being scruffy old goats with skilpy hair and dirty fingernails. Their ramshackle look is a badge of authenticity – suggesting they’ve spent so long in front of their laptop, they haven’t had time to groom, or they’re fresh from the latest soldering mission or that treestump where they’ve just secured a contact mic blah blah. I find that rather lovely. How I yearn to see a woman allowed to express and present herself this way. But while the men can get away with this look, journalists expect women in electronics to look preened and in a delivishly fashionable outfit. It’s so restrictive and unimaginative. This isn’t a criticism of the artists concerned but of the magazine and blog editors who revert to these stereotypes.

    3) Stop coming up to Stephen, my drummer, and ask him how he made all my robots work. :)

    Sarah

    http://www.sarahangliss.com

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    soundcloud.com/djhaiku :)