Recently, a prominent Dublin drummer was interviewed on the podcast A Drummer in Dublin. He shared some devastating comments about women musicians he had worked with, giving names and saying that they were not up to the standard of their male counterparts.
The comments were brought to the attention of the wider industry on Instagram by musician Caoimhe Hopkinson. The podcast was removed from most streaming platforms, and apologies were posted on social media by all involved. If you want to hear it for yourself, you can still listen back here.
Aside from the blatant misogyny and outright ignorance of the podcast guest, what was so disappointing was that the hosts failed to challenge these comments in the moment – and the whole thing left women musicians across the industry wondering if these kinds of conversations happen regularly behind closed doors. Fortunately, a lot of people came out in defence of the many talented women in our industry.
Women Are Class
From running MNÁSOME, I’ve seen first-hand the massive amount of talented women musicians, songwriters, singers, rappers, MDs and producers there are working in the industry. There are also a lot of other groups advocating for women and girls in the Irish industry. These include:
- Irish Women in Harmony, who have amassed almost 3 million Spotify streams on their cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams”, and in the process raised money for Safe Ireland
- Girls Rock Dublin, who run summer camps where girls and non-binary teens have a chance to learn instruments, form bands, write songs and perform
- We’ve Only Just Begun, which started as a festival with an all-woman lineup, and have recently launched two directories; one for women and non-binary musicians for hire and one for those working on the business side of the industry for hire
- Fair Plé, who advocate for women in trad, and have recently helped to highlight the #MiseFósta movement
- Why Not Her, which came about after the recent Report on Gender Disparity on Irish Radio
- MNÁSOME, which celebrates badass women in music through interviews, playlists and online open mics
- Since the publishing of the Gender Disparity Report, radio play for Irish women musicians on Irish radio has improved
Hopefully, you can see that for every misogynistic and ignorant viewpoint, a woman is blazing a trail and smashing through barriers. And in a lot of cases, they’re doing it better than their male counterparts! So let’s focus on and celebrate them. Seek them out if you claim not to know any women in music. There are enough resources to do that listed above. There are no excuses, so don’t be lazy.
The positive thing that comes from this is even more support and attention for women in Irish music. Every single one of those hardworking, badass musicians are producing top quality music, and at the same time blazing the trail for the next generation of badass girls and women who will join the industry.
Women Need Allies
It’s important that in trying to repair a fragmenting society, we connect and show compassion for those who genuinely wish to educate and better themselves. This can be difficult, especially when we’re exhausted and angered, which is completely valid, but there is no use in fighting hate with more hate if we want to move forward.
It is, of course, up to each individual to check their own internalised misogyny and make the effort to educate and try to understand women’s experiences themselves. So please be assured, it is not the responsibility of the women in your life to educate you on their grievances.
Men, in particular, need to become aware of their privilege and how the oppression of women is benefiting them. They need to be willing to challenge these systems in the exhausting fight for equity. Achieving social change is everyone’s responsibility.
The hosts from A Drummer in Dublin issued a statement, which seemed positive. They seem willing to educate themselves and challenge these ideals in the future. I really hope they can learn something from this and become better allies for their fellow musicians.
I think one of the ways we can move forward is to have open and honest conversations with those who are willing to educate themselves.
Women need allies, and we need to support each other. If you are privileged, it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility to become aware of it and the ways in which our society is rigged in your favour because of it.
Discover BIMM Institute Dublin’s female artists and female-fronted acts to watch in 2021. You can also see the rest of our inspirational graduates and alumni blazing the trail for women in music here.