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Keychange unveils Pledge Action Plan

The gender equality initiative has shared a new four-point plan focused on development and an industry-wide call to action

By James Hanley on 16 Feb 2023

Keychange panel at Reeperbahn

Gender equality initiative Keychange has revealed details of its Pledge Action Plan, outlining the next steps for the scheme.

The Pledge Action Plan, which features feedback from over 200 global pledge signatories over five years, has been created by Keychange based upon data analysis by Erasmus University Rotterdam, and highlights the progress made, challenges and next steps required for Keychange to continue its mission.

More than 600 music festivals and organisations have now taken the Keychange Pledge implementing sustainable structures and practices to provide more space and more opportunities for women and gender expansive creators and professionals throughout the music industry.

“It’s the responsibility of every single member of the music industry to insist upon and bring about urgent, progressive, lasting change”

“It’s the responsibility of every single member of the music industry to insist upon and bring about urgent, progressive, lasting change,” says Keychange project manager Francine Gorman. “Keychange is proving that targeted action to break down the systemic and cultural barriers preventing women and gender expansive artists and professionals from entering, and succeeding in the music industry is working – so now is the time to take this even further.

“From music schools and conservatories including more women and gender expansive composers in curriculums, to radio stations improving representation in playlisting and staffing, to collections societies and trade bodies increasing gender representation in their memberships, much needs to change – and now.

“For this reason, we’re calling upon the entire global music community to join Keychange in taking urgent action towards a diverse, representative and sustainable music industry for all.”

The Keychange Pledge and its flagship “50/50 by 2022” campaign were launched in 2017

The Keychange Pledge and its flagship “50/50 by 2022” campaign were launched in 2017. Music festivals and conferences were invited to take a pledge to achieve 50/50 representation across their stages by 2022. The Pledge evolved in 2018 with an invitation to all music organisations to pledge to achieve at least 50% representation of women and gender expansive people in one or more area of their work, by 2022 or in a self-determined timeframe.

The UK currently has the highest number of Keychange Pledge signatories, with 222 out of 613 signatories, followed by Germany with 57, and Canada with 41. Over 160 signatories have joined the movement in further partner countries of Sweden, Estonia, Italy, Norway, Iceland, France, Spain, Poland and Ireland.

The movement is attracting engagement from around the world, with signatories from Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hong Kong, India, Lebanon, Nigeria and beyond.

As of 2022, 40.5% of the 613 Keychange Pledge signatories are festivals, 9.1% are Associations (organisations, trade bodies), 8% are management and/or booking agencies and 6.9% represent concert halls and venues. SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music) in France is the latest high profile signatory.

Keychange has now shared the following four-point plan focused on development and an industry-wide call to action:

Beyond Gender: Working towards gender balance within the music industry requires actions that represent women and gender expansive people from all under-represented backgrounds. This requires a strong focus on intersectionality when creating pledges and monitoring progress, ensuring representation of and direct input from women and gender expansive people of all races, ethnicities, (dis)abilities and social classes, throughout all of Keychange’s activities.

Urgent Action: Encouraging the global music industry to create detailed, time-focussed, intersectional pledges to proactively bring about sector-wide change.

Global Community: Creating roundtables, workshops and conversation spaces for different sectors of the music industry to share best practices, information, and tips for development and progression.

Education & Activism: Keychange will develop new guidelines, best practices and monitoring support to individual signatories.

The full report will be made available on the Keychange website in the coming weeks.

The Keychange Advocacy Event was held in Brussels yesterday (15 February) at the Grands Carmes community space followed by a special Keychange Presents live event featuring alumni from the Keychange Talent Development Programme: British alternative-soul singer, Tawiah and Swedish dream rock quartet, The Hanged Man.

The two shows tookplace at the Keychange Pledge signatory and partner venue Ancienne Belgique – one of Belgium’s best concert halls and coordinator of live music platform for European talent, Liveurope.

Ancienne Belgique also played host to the first Full Network Meetup of the Keychange Talent Development Programme from 14-15 February.


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