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International Women's Day with members of the Boards

Story Published Wednesday 8 March 2023
L-R, the women on the APRA and AMCOS Boards: APRA Chair Jenny Morris, APRA Writer Director Bic Runga, APRA Publisher Director & AMCOS Publisher Director Linda Bosidis, APRA Writer Director Amanda Brown, AMCOS Publisher Director Jane English, APRA Publisher Director & AMCOS Publisher Director Marianna Annas, NATSIMO's APRA Board Observer Catherine Satour.

The themes of this year's International Women's Day are #EmbraceEquality and #DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.

Awareness about gender representation and inclusion has grown substantially in the past years.

We invited the women on both the APRA and AMCOS boards to share their insights into gender equality and the progress women have made in the music industry this International Women's Day.

Jenny Morris OAM MNZM - APRA Chair, Writer Director

Jenny is an acclaimed songwriter, performer and recording artist and an APRA writer member since 1983. She has served as a board Director since 1995 and is the current Chair of the APRA board, a role she has held since 2013.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in the music industry over the course of your career in music?

In the last few years, the idea of women singers and song writers ‘owning’ their careers has become the rule rather than the exception and that has not always been the case. Not only that, all around the world women are running record labels and publishing companies, they are in top positions in concert promotions, rights management organisations, they own festivals. It’s become the norm rather than the exception. In addition to that, the bright spotlight that is now shining on displays of bad behaviour makes it much more difficult to get away with.

What’s your IWD message for women in our industry?

Gender should not be a consideration. It’s the person that counts. Run your own race, be true to yourself and whatever else you may think, you have just as much right and ability to create, to flourish, and to succeed (and rule the bloody world if it comes to it), as anybody else!

Amanda Brown - APRA Writer Director

Amanda is a screen composer, songwriter and APRA writer member of 25 years.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in the music industry over the course of your career in music?

I’m seeing a lot more women song writing and playing instruments in bands than when I first started back in the late 80s. That’s a wonderful thing. We’re seeing some extraordinary local talent with artists like Adalita, Alex The Astronaut, Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher, Stella Donnelly, Aldous Harding, Melanie Horsnell, Julia Jacklin, Laura Jean, Moju, Thelma Plum, Nadia Reid, Sampa The Great, Alice Skye, Lucie Thorne and Emily Wurramara. And that’s just a few of my personal favourites. All these artists can - and do - play all over the world and that’s really something we can be proud of.

The industry is finally in the process of developing a framework for safe reporting and support for women who have experienced assault, discrimination and harassment and that’s long overdue. Mentoring programs for women have provided career pathways and education for emerging artists. I think there’s still work to be done in the screen composer sector - where women composers are a minority - and in regards to the music programmed in our concert halls. Women working in production and music for advertising are still less than 5% so that’s a concern.

But on IWD let’s celebrate the talent, determination and strength we’re seeing from our women composers, performers, song writers and producers. They inspire, motivate and move us.

What’s your IWD message for women in our industry?

My message for women in the music industry is this. When you are doubting and worrying about whether you can have a career in music remember that life is a long game. Be patient and persevere. Develop your craft, do the work and carve your own niche. Nobody will write music quite like you.

Linda Bosidis - APRA & AMCOS Publisher Director

Linda is the Managing Director of Mushroom Music Publishing, and is also a Director of the APRA, AMPAL and IMPF Boards.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in the music industry over the course of your career in music?

There has been progress, but it has been agonisingly slow. For progress to continue, I think we can all benefit from hearing voices, experiences, philosophies, insights from the under-represented. Listening to and championing other womxn benefits not just the music industry but society in general.

What’s your IWD message for women in our industry?

The best people I’ve ever met have; risked, ached, made mistakes, learned lessons, lost, discovered, struggled, fought and they’re not afraid of being vulnerable and kind. Be yourself, there is value in your unique experience and in your womxnhood.

A quote I love that sums this up beautifully is:

‘She will bring change not by projecting what she knows but by sharing what she feels’ - Eleanor Dixon/Kardajala Kirridarra (@kardajala_kirridarra)

Bic Runga - APRA Writer Director

Bic is an award-winning songwriter and producer. She was elected to the board in 2019.

On this International Women's Day, it's great to celebrate the growing awareness that diversity of all kinds is welcome and needed especially when shaping any industry that is in constant disruption and developing in unexpected ways. What is around the corner for the music industry, with the onset of AI, the proliferation of niche digital markets, the demand for care and equity for artists in a landscape where the amateur and professional is blurred, the break out popularity of music in different languages reflecting the full cultural spectrum of audiences - these are issues that benefit from diverse cognitive perspectives around board tables that have developed safe and inclusive cultures. It feels like a wonderful time to step up, speak up, challenge paradigms and contribute to and create an industry and indeed, a wider world, we would like to be a part of.

Jane English - AMCOS Publisher Director

Jane is the Managing Director of Wise Music Pty Ltd. She’s a current Board Director of AMPAL and has been on the boards of the Asian Music Publishers Association and the Hong Kong Music Publishers Association.

IWD is also an opportunity to recognise the work that women in music have done to bring about necessary reforms that have lasted and continue to sustain the industry. In this 2022 video AMCOS Publisher Director and MD of Wise Music Pty Ltd, Jane English, talks about the founding of Support Act – the music industry’s much loved and respected charity. It took 17 years from a chance dinner conversation she was very much a part of in 1980 to Support Act’s eventual establishment in 1997. As CEO of Support Act, Clive Miller, explains, today, Support Act has “transformed itself from a relatively small charity to one that is providing a dynamic range of life-saving support services and programs for tens of thousands of music workers in need, helping to shape a more mentally healthy industry for the future”.

Catherine Satour - NATSIMO's APRA Board Observer

Catherine is a singer-songwriter who leads conversations focused on equity and change. With over 15 years of advocating and implementing programs across the Northern Territory, Catherine initiated a Local Government COVID Arts Recovery Package and successfully advocated for the Aboriginal Flag installation on Anzac Hill recognising Alice Springs as Mparntwe Arrernte Country. Catherine is the Chairperson of the NT Indigenous Women in Music Reference Group and supported MusicNT’s Strategic Directions for Women in Music Plan. A founding member of the MusicNT ‘Desert Divas’ Program supporting Indigenous women in music, she continues to perform and record her original music.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in the music industry over the course of your career in music?

This International Women’s Day I believe it’s the perfect time to reflect on how far the music industry has progressed from the advocacy work that has brought some balance of opportunities, and the strategic pathways that have been embedded into organisations and services ensuring women and gender diverse people are supported and included within the Northern Territory Music industry. Where I am from it’s not that long ago that it was rare to hear a local woman in music, as a solo artist with a developing catalogue of songs on our community radio station. You’d hear a female singer as a backing vocalist or on a duet and that was about it. Now we hear diverse female music artists on the radio, playing festivals and gigs, being finalists nominees being recognised, being successful with funding, touring and developing new works and also having a seat and a voice at decision making tables. All of this is made possible by collective effort to hold the music industry to account for a music culture that is safe, inclusive and supportive. It’s important to take a moment to acknowledge the trailblazers before us and look back on how far we’ve come, and recognise there is work to still do to be better moving forward.

What’s your IWD message for women in our industry?

Be bold and confident in your experience and story. Commitment, integrity and courage will always speak for you. Being a woman in music is equally about elevating yourself and creating ways to make it better for others.