Being #EachforEqual means taking a stand against music industry inequality

There is always time to step up and stand up for gender equality - and it is not only women who can take a stand, but any gender can help spark change.

Matty Healy, lead singer of British pop rock band The 1975, has pledged to take a stand against inequality in the music industry by pledging that his band will not perform at festivals with a lack of female artists in the line-up.

In 2019, The 1975 headlined at UK-leading music festivals Reading and Leeds. However in the announcement for the 2020 music festivals, out of the 91 artists in the first announcement, only 20 are female or feature women

"Take this as me signing this contract - I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who already have tickets. But from now I will and believe this is how male artist can be true allies," tweeted Healy in his pledge for gender equality. This is the true spirit of being #EachforEqual. "But from now I will, and believe this is how male artists can be true allies.”

 “It’s all about action,” he said in a statement to the BBC. “When it comes to big sociopolitical issues and governments are involved, sometimes action or protest can just be ignored. But when it comes to the music industry, we can change that. It’s not a geopolitical nightmare: it’s the music industry, and it’s something that if everyone gets on board, we can fix.”

The 1975 headline at a show in Finsbury Park where thankfully six of the seven support acts are women.


Support from music leaders

Many industry leaders and artists are praising Healy for his decision. In particular, Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis says it is "amazing" that Healy has spoken out and that it will inspire change in others.

As for Glastonbury itself: "Our future has to be 50/50," she told Radio 1's Newsbeat.



Inequality in music festival line-ups was been long flagged, for example in 2015 by music blog Crack in the Road that doctored festival posters for Reading and Leeds, Download and T in the Park, removing the male artists. The result - an empty-looking poster.

Since then, further similar protests have been made such as writer and promoter Lucy McCourt's posters for 2020 festival season that also visually highlight the continued inequality in the industry. 

Twitter account Book More Woman is also dedicated to producing similarily edited posters.

Making important changes 

Music festivals are taking note of gender inequality and are making changes to their line-up that better reflect the broad talent of female artists - and their audiences and sponsors.

For example, Primavera festival, Latitude, and Liverpool Sound City either almost did, or did achieve, a 50/50 gender split in their artist line-up. 


Further organizers are creating all-women festivals like GRLS! Festival in Brazil, that includes superstar performers Kyle Minogue and Little Mix, and Femme It Forward's "Love Language" in Los Angeles. For International Women's Day, the BBC 6 Music Festival in London is hosting an all-women concert at the Roundhouse.

Meanwhile, industry leaders are making pledges like Healy to change the music landscape - and to be #EachforEqual. In 2018, 45 music festivals and conferences worldwide signed the PRS Foundation's Keychange initiative promising to reach a 50/50 gender split across their lineups by 2022. 

Making change is all about collaboration - industry leaders, artists and fans - regardless of gender.

As Healy said: it is time to "act and not chat" calling on fellow male artists to follow suit. "... and it’s something that if everyone gets on board, we can fix."

#EachforEqual Matty Healy. High five to you! 

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