Published Tuesday 8 March 2022.
In 2020-2021 over 7,000* (almost half) of the young people who took part in music-making projects we fund identified as girls or young women. It’s clear that, given the opportunity, plenty of girls are interested in music.
*This is based on evaluation data given to us by organisations we fund on core participants engaged in sustained music making. Some projects don’t record this data so the actual number may be higher.
Yet research shows women who want to pursue a career in music still face inequality. Our 2020 report found that women were less likely to be earning than men (41% vs 55%), and they were more than twice as likely than men (13% vs 6%) to say they hadn’t had access to any support in order to help them achieve a career in the music industries. Disappointing, but not surprising.
We’re investing in organisations across the UK that are committed to changing this. And we’re starting to see change happen, with more women on stage and more working behind the scenes. This International Women’s Day, check out some of the young women we know who are making waves in the music industries.
With over a million plays on Spotify for her track ‘Visible’ in 2019, Sans Soucis has been building a name and a solid fan base, going on to win the Original Track Solo Award at the Youth Music Awards 2021. Meanwhile she’s given back to supporting young musicians, working with the Abram Wilson Foundation to facilitating music-making projects for young people.
Sound Engineer and manager of Esche Haus Audio, a recording studio in Blackburn, Imogen has spoken openly about her experiences as a female producer and the struggles she's encountered.
“I think as a female working at a recording studio, it's incredibly difficult to get people to see you as anything more than a receptionist or brew lady, and a lot of people (females included) almost seem shocked when I take an active role in the studio producing their music and engineering their session alongside James.”
“It's important to believe in yourself and know that anything is possible if you work hard enough. Set small, manageable goals and stick to them. One of the speakers on the Liverpool Sound City training course said to me 'There's no such thing as luck, luck is just when hard work and opportunity meet'. This resonated with me on a deep level because it makes so much sense - you make your own luck and if you work hard enough you'll be prepared for when the opportunities arrive."
Lily's in not one - but two! - bands featured in NME’s top 100 artists to watch in 2022. Hailing from Yorkshire, she's taken part in music projects we fund with Music:Leeds and Come Play With Me. While the bands are taking off, she's also currently mentoring on Liverpool Sound City's programme 'Rip it Up', "supporting 10 Black, Asian and diverse artists and aspiring industry professionals aged 18-25 to make an impact on the music industry." - also a project we invest in.
At Youth Music we know making music can have so many benefits to young people, which is why we fund organisations like Music Action International, who’s Harmonise project supports young refugees and asylum seekers in schools through music.
Sindy is a music facilitator on the project helping to run the sessions. Participants have said she’s easy to connect with as someone who’s also experienced what refugees go through. She also took home the the Young Leader Award at the Youth Music Awards 2021 for her work.
“I always remember playing local shows with my band, I was in one band where I was the only girl, we were sound-checking and the sound engineer just completely took over. Telling me ‘you need to do this, this, and this with your pedals. I’m like … I know? You don’t need to tell me. They assume you know nothing, we’ve all been playing for a long time, we do know how to play our instruments.” - Eva.
At 16, Eva and her business partner Holly founded Grrls Do That Too, a project supporting women in music on stage and behind the scenes to create safe spaces here ‘grrls’ are comfortable expressing themselves. Eva has gone on to partner with organisations such as Independent Venue Week and curates Come Play With Me’s annual Women and People Of Marginalised Genders in music events. She also founded a podcast Grrls Talk Too in January 2021, was a youth assessor for the first round of the Youth Music Incubator Fund and is a Label Manager at Come Play With Me. Eva is also a singer/songwriter and bassist in FIKA, an indie grunge trio emerging on the Leeds scene.
We're able to support more girls and young women thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, players of People's Postcode Lottery and support from partners, fundraisers and donors.
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