Tag Archives: International Womens Day

International Women’s Day

8 Mar

One hundred and three years ago in 1911, the first International Women’s Day was recognised in European countries – Germany, Austria and Denmark among others. In 1975 the UN officially recognised its observance and today it is a national holiday in 27 countries.

This year, (2014) the official global theme is ‘Inspiring Change’. The importance of equality for all women is the focus of this years events – not purely as a fundamental human right (the Charter of the United Nations, signed in San Francisco in 1945, was the first international agreement) but also to enable progress. UN secretary General, Ban Ki-moon states; “The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.”

“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth.  Companies with more women leaders perform better.  Peace agreements that include women are more durable.  Parliaments
with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, antidiscrimination and child support.”  Ban Ki-moon

Women in ‘The Industry’
In 1975 Helen Reddy’s number 1 hit song ‘I am Woman’ was claimed by the UN as their theme. But what’s going on for women in the music industry now?

British artist Charlotte Church delivered her infamous Peel Lecture in 2013 debating the status of women in a music industry which is male dominated, and the consequent perception we have on main-stream women artists. She does have a point about Rihanna’s and Miley’s positions as role models to the more impressionable – but although the numbers are few, there are role models – influent, strong women standing firmly on and behind the stage. Women musicians who, by the omnipresence of ‘hits and clicks’ as a means of success, are granted a certain autonomy to do it their way.

This is not to say that sexism and inequality don’t exist, a controversial case from Japan is a good example. The members of the Japanese girl group AKB48 are prohibited by contract of engaging in any romantic or sexual relations. When one of the members of AKB48, 20-year-old Minami Minegishi, shaved her head and made a tearful confession and apology for having a boyfriend on YouTube, it caused a stir. The troupe of 80 plus young women, are a part of a hit churning song and dance group who perform on a daily basis and work in shifts at the groups own theatre. They are patronised to appear virginal and ‘available’ to the male audience. Record producer and AKB48 creator Professor Yasushi Akimoto is behind the record sales of over US$200million.

Women in Radio
Back in Europe, we can listen to women between the hours of 7pm and 7am (on 7th – 8th March) on BBC Radio 1. The station will be hosting its tribute to International Women’s Day (IWD) which is a obviously a very good thing, but as Jane Martinson (The Guardian) puts it; “Were they not allowed out during the day?”

Statistics given by Sound Women and Creative Skillset show that:

  • 1 in 5 solo voices on the radio is female
  • That figure is 1 in 8 during peak-time breakfast and drive hours
  • In co-hosted show, you are nearly 10 times as likely to hear 2+ male presenters as you are to hear 2+ female presenters
  • Solo women are more likely to be on air at weekends than during the week.

Finishing off my rant with a musical tone I leave you with today’s playlist for International Women. Some of the links will have to be checked out directly over YouTube. Enjoy!

1. Beth Ditto: Open Heart Surgery

2. Gaby Moreno: Ave Que Emigra

3. Dessa: Fighting Fish

4. Courtney Barnett: Anonymous Club

5. Lilly Allen: Hard Out Here

6. Angel Olsen: Forgiven/Forgotten

7. Julia Weldon: You Never Know

8. Annie Lennox, Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams

9. Beyoncé: Run The World (Girls)

10. Helen Reddy: I Am Woman

Reading:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/women-radio-presenters-under-pressure-to-sound-more-like-men-says-mary-beard-9166518.html

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN02936/international-womens-day-2014-background-statistics

http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/2014/sgmessage.shtml

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme.asp#.UxnQvyg08pQ

http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/am307e/am307e00.pdf

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp#.UxgTkSg08pQ

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beth-blatt/sing-for-international-womens-day_b_4892574.html

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2013/10/15/church

http://womeninmusic.org/web/

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/26/women-running-music-industry-feature

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