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7/10 women in Indian biz have been harassed – report

Nearly 70% of women working in India’s music industry have experienced some form of sexual harassment, according to a new nationwide survey.

The poll, conducted by Indian-American artist Amanda Sodhi, found some 69% of women working in the Indian music business had been subjected to sexual harassment, including inappropriate comments and touching, with nearly 7% of those having also been sexually assaulted.

“Having faced sexual harassment within the music scene, several times, over the past few years, I felt it was important to collect data regarding the experiences of other women,” Sodhi tells RadioandMusic.com, which has the full survey results. “There haven’t been any numbers on the table about how rampant sexual harassment really is within the Indian music scene.”

The survey, of 105 musicians, lyricists, managers, engineers and other industry professionals, also discovered 72.6% of those women who faced harassment did not report it, either because they thought it wouldn’t make any difference or it would negatively affect their career or personal safety.

Some 97% of women in music think the Indian business needs more initiatives, organisations or committees to handle “#MeToo incidents” – referencing the global movement against sexual harassment, including in the live music industry, that emerged after the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017 – and take action, the survey additionally found.

“When I was conducting extensive research to administer this survey, I could barely find 400–500 names of women active in the music scene, nationwide, to send the survey link to,” continues Amanda Sodhi (pictured). “It’s sad that we can’t even offer a safe work environment for such a tiny group. Fear of losing out on work opportunities was one of the top two reasons to not report incidents of sexual harassment.

“I hope female artists who are doing hundreds of shows each year can perhaps pledge to employ X number of women in the year for X number of shows, whether it be as opening acts, musicians or sound engineers – in essence, affirmative action that empowers women to speak up without worrying about losing all employability in an industry that is dominated by men.”

Sodhi adds that she plans to launch a closed Facebook group for Indian women in music to discuss instances of harassment and women’s responses.


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