The Music Agenda: First panel talk on role models held at Lee & Thompson

On Thursday 1 November, Lee & Thompson hosted the first in a series of events addressing the issue of gender inequality in the music business.

The brainchild of our very own Noorjhan Flanagan, The Music Agenda was launched in conjunction with the BPI to bring the industry together to discuss what it is like for women and working parents in the music industry today – the ups and downs, the challenges, success stories and how we move forward.

Last week’s event focused on the importance of having visible and accessible role models and a fantastic panel of guests talked passionately about their experiences, their views on the current landscape and what could and should be improved.  Chaired by Ayesha Hazarika from the BPI the panel comprised Natasha Baldwin, Head of Decca Publishing, Clarisse Quinn, Artist Manager at ATC Management, writer and publisher Janée ‘Jin-Jin’ Bennett, Beatbox Champion Grace Savage and DJ and Festival Founder Emily Rawson (pictured above).

The room was full of enthusiasm and the discussion was fascinating, enlightening and empowering highlighting different experiences and attitudes. Ayesha Hazarika spoke about the current climate and why it is time for change.  She said:

“This panel couldn’t have come at a better time – it is almost exactly a year since the #MeToo campaign launched and 100 years since some women got the vote for the first time.  Our industry, like others, is having to do some serious self-reflection. The panel here is at the coal face of making change across the music sector. We have to move the needle from more than just words and to action – to women not just getting hired but being promoted to the most senior levels and in greater numbers. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. In the words of the suffragettes: deeds not words.”

Following the event, Noorjhan Flanagan, Associate in the Music Group at Lee & Thompson commented:

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to the launch of The Music Agenda concept and the first event, reaffirming the need for an industry wide platform for these important discussions – for both women and men.

The first session highlighted that many women working in the industry simply didn’t have their own professional female role models.  Today, there are women in roles that historically may have been considered inaccessible, including DJs, songwriters/composers, producers, recording engineers, A&R, senior label executives, artist managers and beatboxers!  We as an industry need to ensure that these incredible women are visible, to empower those coming through the ranks and inspire our younger generations.”

The next in the series of invitation-only events will take place on Tuesday 4 December at Lee & Thompson’s offices in Central London and will focus on Parenthood & Music.  Panellists already confirmed include, Becky Allen, President of Decca Records, recording & mix engineer Olga Fitzroy and singer/songwriter Ruby Wood.

Click here to find out more about Lee & Thompson’s Inclusion Network and the firm’s wider Corporate Responsibility work.