Employment news

Parliamentary Committee finds women in the music industry face multiple barriers

A report from the Parliamentary women and equalities committee has found that women working in the music industry face limitations in opportunity, a lack of support, gender discrimination and sexual harassment and assault as well as the persistent issue of unequal pay in a sector dominated by self-employment and gendered power imbalances. It says that despite increases in representation, these issues are endemic and are intensified for women faced with intersectional barriers, particularly racial discrimination.

The committee says there are legislative steps the Government can take to help tackle some of these concerns. It suggests the Equality Act 2010 should be amended to ensure freelance workers are provided with the same protections from discrimination as employees, and section 14 of the Act should be brought into force to improve protections for people facing intersectional inequality. It also believes the Government should legislate to impose a duty on employers to protect workers from sexual harassment by third parties, a proposal the Government initially supported and then rejected in 2023. The committee also focuses on the “distressing evidence” of the impact of non-disclosure agreements on victims of discrimination, harassment and abuse. They say that victims with little agency in the process “are threatened into silence by organisations seeking to protect their reputation and the perpetrators of abuse who work for them”. It seeks Government action to urgently bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit the use of non-disclosure and other forms of confidentiality agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, bullying or harassment, and discrimination relating to a protected characteristic. It should also consider a retrospective moratorium on NDAs for those who have signed them relating to the issues outlined above.