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ISM report highlights sexual harassment and discrimination in the music sector

Laura  Barnes
ISM report highlights sexual harassment and discrimination in the music sector

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has released an interim report showing its findings regarding discrimination and inappropriate behaviour in the music sector.

The interim report is an analysis of the data ISM received through anonymous responses to a survey launched on 2 November 2017.

The results of this survey have revealed a “pattern of discriminatory behaviour in a broad range of workplaces”.

Almost 65% of respondents who had experienced discrimination reported that they had been subject to sexual harassment.
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77% of these respondents did not report their experiences, with fear of losing work far outweighing any other reason for not doing so.

“The ISM is committed to working on a collaborative basis to improve the workplace for musicians and to secure change on a long-term basis. In the wake of recent revelations regarding inappropriate behaviour in many different settings, concerns have been raised in the music sector about incidents of discrimination including sexual harassment,” said Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM.

“The results of this survey have revealed a pattern of discriminatory behaviour in a broad range of workplaces. What is particularly troubling is the extent of sexual harassment within the music sector: almost 65% of respondents who had experienced discrimination reported that they had been subject to sexual harassment. 72% of these respondents who answered regarding their employment status were self-employed.”

Speaking about the fear that many respondents has of losing work if they reported their experiences, Annetts said: “This fear was not limited to just sexual harassment but a common theme across all types of discriminations as the survey results highlight.

“The ISM is calling for a change in the culture across the whole of the music sector, starting in educational settings, from schools up to and including music colleges. There needs to be absolute clarity as to what is acceptable behaviour as well as the structures to support musicians in their work so that they can report their concerns without fear of retribution or judgement.

She continued: “To ensure that all musicians understand what their rights and duties are there needs to be comprehensive training and education. And we believe that all the above needs to be underpinned by a sector wide code which is recognised by all who work in the music sector.

“We do not underestimate the gravity of the problem which the ISM survey has uncovered and the extent of the work which needs to be done. We do however believe that by working together, the music sector can tackle these grave issues and make the workplace a place where musicians can work without experiencing discrimination of any kind.”

The interim report sets out a series of recommendations and calls on the music sector to work together to tackle the issues that have been highlighted in the ISM’s survey. Read ISM’s Interim Report in full here.

Tags: ism , discrimination , sexual harassment

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