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International Women’s Day 2021

Today QMusic launches a week’s campaign including a playlist and In Conversation pieces to celebrate women in our local industry and amplify their voices.

International Women’s Day is a globally recognised day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In 2021, the theme for IWD is #ChooseToChallenge.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

For me, the older I get, the more I celebrate this day. It is a day to look back and reflect, and understand there is still a way to go. Today I shout out to the women in my life who paved the way to help me find a strong voice; one that can now help other women, and voices be heard. To my mother, sister, grandmothers, my late father, my brothers. To my girlfriends and my professional mentors, thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to see the world through an intersectional lens and understand that true gender equality will only be achieved when all women, including marginalised voices, are heard and celebrated.


Due to COVID-19, triple j Hack's annual report looking into the representation of women in the Australian music industry could not be produced. Mind you, in a year that has decimated our live music industry and where figures released on Wednesday 17 February by APRA AMCOS reveal that live music alone is operating at just four per cent of the level compared to this time last year, there has been a universal loss of employment in our industry.

What is not universal however are the gender-regressive scenarios being played out for women across Australia and the dual economy of work and home responsibilities. This is even more pronounced for single parents, and those isolated from family and their communities due to COVID-19.


Gender disparity in our industry is a reflection of a larger social issue.

Australia is not performing well when it comes to gender equity. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Index ranks Australia 44th out of 153 countries.

I write this against the backdrop of national conversations on sexual assault, the notion of believing women, having consent included in the school curriculum and a second wave of #MeToo. And although the current narrative saddens and angers me, I am more optimistic than ever for the plight of women. I feel that same optimism I did back in the early ‘90s studying political science at the University of Queensland and surfing the second and third waves of feminism and believing that change was “imminent”.

30 years later, today’s conversations are brutal but can make real change for all women including women working in our industry.


At QMusic we will continue to offer programs and initiatives designed to close the representation gap for female and non-binary members of our industry including initiatives like the Carol Lloyd Award, QMentorship and our 40:40:20 rule of thumb.

In 2021, we are looking at how to make event spaces safer for all genders and how technology can help us achieve this, and we shall be running a campaign later this year.


On Friday, I was fortunate to hear a keynote from the 2021 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, an advocate for allowing sexual assault survivors to tell their stories. I listened to Grace and I felt shock, anger and an overwhelming sense of “this just has to stop”. Young girls have to be safe at school.

Similarly, women have to be safe from sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. Women have to be safe at home. One woman dying a week at the hands of a man they know can no longer be tolerated.

How can we expect gender equality in our industry if these things are happening at the same time?

All it takes is one voice – like Grace’s voice, whose words have inspired a tidal wave of conversation since January – to challenge and create change for women.

One voice.


So today is about celebrating the many voices of women in our industry. To the hard-working women who have used their voice to pave the way and “fought the fight” for other women to follow, we salute you.

To all the women who have, and continue, to challenge inequality. Thank you.

And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please don’t hesitate to email me at angela@qmusic.com.au


Angela Samut

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