An online initiative launched today by the Europe Jazz Network in collaboration with magazines, web portals and radio programmes across Europe and beyond, aims to advocate for a fairer and more balanced creative music sector and to highlight the women who fuel the contemporary jazz scene with their creativity, artistic vision and leadership.
On March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day (#IWD2021), and for the following two weeks, a common hashtag, #womentothefore, will be used online to share articles, interviews and digital content of outstanding artists and the work of other operators in our sector. We have encouraged editors of magazines, high-profile websites and radio producers across Europe and beyond to commit to increasing the coverage (articles, interviews) of and by women, and where possible, to provide special features on women and/or women-led bands for this period. The EJN will promote these contents widely through our communication channels—on our website and social media—and we are encouraging our members to do the same, resulting in a coordinated online action.
The more content we have available and the more active we are in our campaign, the stronger our common message will be. We are aiming to increase visibility of and profile for our collective action, which will in turn lead to greater recognition of the many important roles women play in jazz. We are convinced that our action can also serve as an inspiration for the jazz and creative music sectors in other parts of the world.
Please join us by posting with the hashtag #womentothefore, feel free to use the graphics here attached and follow the EJN's social media channels for more updates.
About EJN activities on Gender Balance
Since 2010, Europe Jazz Network (EJN) has been working to improve gender balance in the jazz and creative music sector. Key milestones are the development, together with some of our members, of the Europe Jazz Balance platform in 2014, the establishment of an ongoing and ever-growing gender balance working group inside the EJN membership, achieving and maintaining gender balance on the Board of Directors of the association, and in all activities including our annual Europe Jazz Conference. We are especially pleased to have developed the “Gender Balance Manifesto for Jazz and Creative Music”, which was ratified by the members at the 2018’s Conference in Lisbon
In the last five years the Europe Jazz Network has also collected data about representation in the artistic programmes and staff of our members. This data illustrates a positive trend of an increasing number of women, both on and off stage, but also some persisting inequalities. For example, in 2015, 38% of concerts organised by the respondents featured at least one female artist, and this has grown to 46% by 2019. Similarly, percentages have increased for the presence of women undertaking artistic commissions (43% in 2015, 59% in 2019) and in educational projects (50% in 2015, 51% in 2019).
Concerning management and positions of leadership in music organisations, in 2019 25% of member organisations responding to our survey had a woman as artistic director, and the 37% of board members of these organisations were women, while the overall staff composition and volunteer teams seems to be more balanced, with a presence respectively of 47% of women in the staff and of 55% of women as volunteers.
While the increased percentages of women involved in jazz, both on and off stage, are encouraging, it also demonstrates that a lot of work still needs to be done for equal representation and true gender balance to be achieved in our sector.
Once more, from 8 March 2021 and for the following two weeks, we invite you to post on your channels using the hashtag: #womentothefore
About the Europe Jazz Network Europe Jazz Network
(EJN) was created in 1987 as a Europe-wide non-profit association of live music promoters and presenters. Currently EJN includes 165 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues, independent promoters and national/regional support organisations) in 34 countries and it is one of the 28 cultural networks supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
EJN's mission is to encourage, promote and support the development of jazz, creative and improvised music within the European scene and to create opportunities for artists, organisers and audiences from all different countries to meet and communicate.