The Music Agenda: Breakthrough panel talk on parenthood held at Lee & Thompson

On Tuesday 4 December, Lee & Thompson hosted the second in a series of events addressing the issue of gender inequality in the music business, this time digging deeper on the theme of parenthood.

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

Our second event event focused on hurdles facing parents working in the music industry and juggling professional as well as personal lives.  For women alone, there is a markedly lower representation of females aged 35 and above compared to younger age groups (a trend published yesterday by UK Music in its 2018 Music Industry Workforce Diversity Survey).

As reinforced on the day by Simarjeet Kaur, a representative from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, this trend is not just a women’s issue, it’s a parents’ issue, particularly given the growing proportion of working fathers seeking shared parental leave. Nevertheless, this figure is only 2%.

A diverse panel of guests talked frankly about their experiences, their opinions on today’s parenting dilemmas and where improvement is urgently needed across the music industry.  Chaired by the BPI’s Ayesha Hazarika, the panel comprised:

  • Rebecca Allen (Decca Records),
  • Niko Michault (artist manager at P.U.S.H. Music Management),
  • Ruby Wood (singer and member of Submotion Orchestra),
  • Olga FitzRoy (Music Producers Guild),
  • Emma Kangis (parental and executive coach) and
  • Mark Gale (Universal Music).

Moderator Ayesha Hazarika, a former political advisor who helped to draft the Equality Act 2010, spoke about the real issue of evening work in the music industry is a major issue. Some of the key determining factors in managing your hours in the music industry are having a job which is adequately senior and well-remunerated in the first place and the size of the institution that you work for – if any at all.

The debate amongst the panellists and interaction with the audience made for a discussion which was frank, yet informative and empowering.

The strong response to the launch of The Music Agenda concept and both events has revealed the need for an industry-wide platform for these topical conversations. Importantly, this platform is crucial – for both women and men who either have worked in, are currently working in, or are looking to enter the music industry.

Our inaugural panel event in November highlighted that many women working in the industry simply didn’t have their own professional female role models.

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