Meet the kickass female DJs pushing for gender equality in the industry

Pledging for change.

01 Apr 2019

OK, so we might have seen an improvement in the music industry over the past few decades, but we still have a long way to go in terms of gender-equality. The female gender is still battling the pay gap and lack of representation within the music industry.

Female DJs, in particular, face many hurdles within the electronic music industry, as festival line-ups are constantly dominated by male artists. The struggle is real when it comes to bookings for festivals, shows and tours – it’s 2019, people!

Recently, Annie Mac was appointed to head up a new music industry initiative ‘Equalising Music Pledge’, which aims to achieve a greater gender balance within the industry.

I’m delighted to be asked to spearhead the Smirnoff #EqualisingMusic pledge endorsed by @KeychangeEU. The music industry is still embarrassingly lopsided in terms of gender parity.. #Partner pic..com/bs5vi1cW7c

— Annie Mac (@AnnieMac) February 20, 2019

Annie Mac’s festival, AMP Lost & Found, is in its fifth edition year, booking over 20 female artists and DJs. Hopefully her initiating pledge will push other festivals towards equality and positive change going forward this summer and next.

GLAMOUR has spoken to some of the top female DJs in the industry about gender-equality and festival line-ups past and future…

"Taking a positive perspective on the subject, I personally have noticed a lot more female identifying acts on line ups for festivals this year compared to previous. Whether this is down to the topic of equality in the music industry being quite heavily discussed in the media the past few years, bookers being more conscious, or a more prominent break-through of female acts more recently, I think this is something to be celebrated. Moving forward, it is important that all aspects of the music industry are working towards equality in however way works best for the individual. I recently became involved in an “Equalising Music” campaign which Smirnoff are currently running, challenging people in the industry to do one significant thing for gender equality in 2019. More things like this will really help make a positive change!”

EMERALD

“It’s so important to see equality on festival line ups, not as novelty but as normality. To see this happen it has to be of fundamental importance to men and women working behind the scenes. There needs to be equality not just on the line-ups but who is employed behind the scenes too. Change, balance and support needs to happen across the board in the music industry among club and festival promoters, agencies, record labels, publishers, etc”

MONKI

“I have lots of fun memories over the years, including last year when I shared a ride with Haai and Josey Rebelle; when we cracked ridiculous jokes the whole way to site. It's great to see so much female talent on one line up and just goes to show there's plenty of it out there!”

HAAI

“Annie Mac has had my back since the really early stages of my DJ career. I really like her as a human being, even outside of work stuff. When we get booked together, I’m always excited to hang out. I think it’s about time that the equality on line-ups issue is being addressed. I feel like there’s always so many excuses being given about it. Or people say they have an equal line-up but all the women are at the bottom of the bill and therefore the worst paid. I think we’re going through a good moment where there’s a lot more attention on the issue, but I think the next phase is not just a balance of males to females, but also more female headliners being paid the same as the men.”

MADAM X

“This'll be my second time playing Lost & Found, the line-up is really solid and diverse. I'm really looking forward to catching up with my mate's Emerald, Sally C and Debonair. I don't usually get to play with them, so it'll be a nice opportunity for us to all come together and rep our different sounds. I think it's really cool that festivals are making more of a conscious effort to book women, but I don't approve of it being used as a marketing tool, it almost defeats the purpose. At the end of the day, we're all human. The real issue lies with how society represents and speaks about women, celebrating their bodies instead of their achievements and intelligence. This narrative, is what needs to change.”

If you want to join Annie Mac in the pledge to do one thing to help improve gender-balance within the music industry - here’s a list of some super-talented female DJs to listen to this Summer:

  • Monki
  • Jamz Supernova
  • Jubilee
  • Lady Leshurr
  • Peggy Gou
  • Tiffany Calver
  • HAAI
  • Carista
  • Madam X
  • Emerald
  • The Black Madonna
  • Honey Dijon

AMP Lost & Found will take place in Malta, on 2nd - 5th May. Tickets available to buy here