Last month, London based radio station ‘Radar Radio’ suspended their broadcasting services, after several accusations of sexual harassment cases involving female staff came to light, as well as racism and homophobia. The station was known for providing a platform for DJs and artists, and the accusations curated a huge online backlash, as well as causing others to speak out on their own similar experiences in other companies and organisations.

Steven Campbell is a promoter who is responsible for a number of well-known, branded parties and raves across Europe. When speaking to him he told me: “You have heard about the Radar Radio situation, it happens [but] very rarely does it become public knowledge.”

When booking DJs for his own events, Steven says that he always ensures there is females on the line-up, and always receive equal funds to their male counterparts. He also told me how he has come to realise that there is less female DJs altogether.

His experience is somewhat different to Jini Cowan, who is a DJ and producer, as well as the boss of her own record label. She told me about her experience being in electronic music: “The music industry is a really difficult place to be, especially for women because you’re not really taken seriously all of the time. You have to work twice as hard.

“In terms of fee when you play, there’s definitely a gender wage gap going on. I think most girls would probably vouch for me and say they feel like they can’t ask for their full fee because they’ll just get looked at funny or pushed to one side, whereas if a guy asks it’s fine. That’s a massive issue that I’m trying to combat.”

Last month, London based radio station ‘Radar Radio’ suspended their broadcasting services, after several accusations of sexual harassment cases involving female staff came to light, as well as racism and homophobia. The station was known for providing a platform for DJs and artists, and the accusations curated a huge online backlash, as well as causing others to speak out on their own similar experiences in other companies and organisations.

Last month, London based radio station ‘Radar Radio’ suspended their broadcasting services, after several accusations of sexual harassment cases involving female staff came to light, as well as racism and homophobia. The station was known for providing a platform for DJs and artists, and the accusations curated a huge online backlash, as well as causing others to speak out on their own similar experiences in other companies and organisations.

Last month, London based radio station ‘Radar Radio’ suspended their broadcasting services, after several accusations of sexual harassment cases involving female staff came to light, as well as racism and homophobia. The station was known for providing a platform for DJs and artists, and the accusations curated a huge online backlash, as well as causing others to speak out on their own similar experiences in other companies and organisations.

Steven Campbell is a promoter who is responsible for a number of well-known, branded parties and raves across Europe. When speaking to him he told me: “You have heard about the Radar Radio situation, it happens [but] very rarely does it become public knowledge.”

When booking DJs for his own events, Steven says that he always ensures there is females on the line-up, and always receive equal funds to their male counterparts. He also told me how he has come to realise that there is less female DJs altogether.

His experience is somewhat different to Jini Cowan, who is a DJ and producer, as well as the boss of her own record label. She told me about her experience being in electronic music: “The music industry is a really difficult place to be, especially for women because you’re not really taken seriously all of the time. You have to work twice as hard.

“In terms of fee when you play, there’s definitely a gender wage gap going on. I think most girls would probably vouch for me and say they feel like they can’t ask for their full fee because they’ll just get looked at funny or pushed to one side, whereas if a guy asks it’s fine. That’s a massive issue that I’m trying to combat.”

Jini also told me how the issue impacted her confidence when she was just starting out: “I wasn’t really paying for much money and when I did, I either didn’t get paid at the end or people just found excuses not to [pay me]. I went all the way to London from Manchester to play at Pacha (which is now closed). I got there, and the promoter was like ‘yeah you can’t play’.

​“In terms of harassment obviously that’s something that’s been raised a lot especially this year. I think a lot of female DJs, photographers, artists and musicians, [have] all experienced something like that, but haven’t really wanted to talk about it. I think DJs especially are quite vulnerable in those situations because it can be anything from being harassed in a club by

Charlotte Brown

6th June 2018

HEY -

MRS DJ

The year is 1918, and women have just legally been granted the right to vote. Fast-forward 100 years, and here we are, still amid all things feminism, campaigning for injustices across the board. Amongst the memes and the trolls, social media has become a platform where women globally have felt safe enough to join forces in the hopes of tackling one of society’s long-standing issues.

The last few years have impacted fundamentally around the subject of women’s rights, whether that’s pay gaps, sexual harassment or just straight-forward sexism. Issues were brought out of the dark across a whole spectrum of industries, from politicians in Westminster to actors in Hollywood. The music industry, although may have played stage to a few eyebrow-raising events, individual departments have not yet faced a mass exposure scandal in the worldwide press.

Charlotte De Witte, a Belgian techno DJ is a prime example of the kind of imbalance faced by women in electronic music. She started out producing under the name ‘Raving George’, and only switched to her birth name two years ago. On one YouTube release, the producer received 12 million views. Her reason for producing and receiving bookings under her pseudonym is obvious, and she recently told Mixmag that she simply just “didn’t want to shout about the fact [that she] was a female producer until people had booked [her].”

I think a lot of female DJs, photographers, artists and musicians have all experienced something like that.

 

someone to something a lot more serious. Sexual harassment does reflect in the electronic music industry, but they’ve also set up a lot to help with this. I think that’s great especially for girls in the club because I’ve found myself being harassed by people.”

 

One of the campaigns that Jini spoke about was ‘Ask for Angela’, which began recently. The campaign sees women who are uncomfortable in a bar or club environment being able to ask the bar stuff for ‘Angela’, giving them an opportunity to leave safely with assistance.

Gemma Whitefield is a young DJ and producer who is in the beginning stages of her career in the industry.  She told me how so far her experience has taught her that electronic music is overrun by men: “It has definitely felt like a ‘boy’s club’ at times, especially on the production side where there’s a really clear gender imbalance.

“I think I really noticed it when I first started producing myself, and when I first went to University in London and realised I was one of a very small handful of women on my music production course. Then when I started going to electronic music festivals, the clear majority of artists on the line-ups were men, and straight, white men specifically.”

Unfortunately, just like Jini, Gemma agreed with the pattern of sexual harassment throughout the industry: “Several women I know who work in electronic music as DJ’s and producers have told me they’ve been sexually harassed by promoters and club managers.”

Electronic music is a segment which seems to have been forgotten. It has grown from a relaxed culture of acid-house, friendly faces and colourful clothing to a worldwide industry estimated to be worth around 6 billion dollars. In 2015, Calvin Harris earned himself over £40m. Capitalism takes no mercy, no matter what industry or genre. Neither does it when it comes to treating women fairly.

All that can be said is an overdue light is yet to shine onto the dark corners of the industry, as well as an influx of confidence and support for the women of electronic music.

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The UK's online magazine for the underground music scene.