Insights Misogyny in music: UK House of Commons Committee publishes report


On 30 January 2024, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee published a report highlighting the lack of opportunity, unequal pay, discrimination and sexual harassment and assault faced by women in the music industry. Despite increases in the representation of women within the industry, discrimination and misogyny remain endemic.

The Committee calls, amongst other things, for several legislative changes to:

  • Allow self-employed mothers and fathers to share parental leave and pay, and for the leave to be taken non-consecutively as with PAYE employees;
  • Amend the Equality Act 2010 to ensure freelance workers are provided with the same protections against discrimination and harassment as employees;
  • Bring into force section 14 of the Equality Act to improve protections for people facing intersectional inequality or combined discrimination. Section 14 provides that a discrete claim can be brought under the Act with respect to discrimination based on a unique combination of two protected characteristics (e.g. a policy preventing employees from wearing headscarves would discriminate against Muslim women but not other women or Muslim men, so it is not purely sex or religious discrimination);
  • Impose a duty on employers to protect workers from sexual harassment by third parties;
  • Prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements in cases involving sexual abuse, harassment or misconduct, bullying, harassment and discrimination and consider the merits of a retrospective moratorium on such existing NDAs; and
  • Subject studios, music venues and the security staff that work there, to licensing requirements, to include a sexual harassment risk assessment, and develop an accreditation programme for managers of artists such as that which exists for football agents.

The report refers to the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (“CIISA”), a body established in 2022 to provide advice, support and mediation in respect of claims of bullying and harassment within the TV, film, theatre and music industries (details of which were previously reported by Wiggin). However, CIISA is not a statutory body and therefore the Committee’s reforms to the Equality Act are also needed.

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