Women in CTRL is a non-profit organisation that was set up to empower and inspire women in the entertainment, creative and business sectors of the music industry. It provides a collective voice for women and minorities and underrepresented groups to advocate for fairness and equality.
We asked founder of Women in CTRL, Nadia Khan, to take us behind the scenes to give us a better understanding of the pivotal work taking place.
I originally started my career in music PR 19 years ago, which I really enjoyed. I always wanted to get into management and picked up my first client 16 years ago, and I’m still managing them today! I run a few successful independent record labels, through which I’ve achieved multiple top 20 chart success, and I also sit as a Board director for AIM (Association of Independent Music).
Through my journey over the years, I’ve faced some challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field and industry. Also, whilst managing female musicians, I noticed that female artists face more barriers across every aspect of the industry and get fewer opportunities. I’ve learnt a lot from my own experiences in the music industry and I felt it was important to create a platform to help other women, executives and creatives, so I founded Women in CTRL around three years ago.
'Women in CTRL encourage women to find their strengths and build the tools and confidence to become female leaders.'
Women in CTRL a not-for-profit organisation that provide a collective voice for women and underrepresented groups in the music industry. We have nearly 500 members signed up so far.
We work to identify barriers for women in music and aim to create sustainable solutions around them. We campaign, lobby and advise industry associates and organisations on issues relevant to our members. We do the work that our members need us to do. We also conduct research so we can identify issues, and also to monitor progress and change in the industry.
Women in CTRL encourage women to find their strengths and build the tools and confidence to become female leaders. We support women on this journey through networking, training, and one-to-one advice sessions.
We are aware that there are many barriers for women who make music and have a number of initiatives we are working on to support female writers and producers, and create more opportunities to develop talent.
'We need to constantly monitor to understand where we need to do more work, and if what we are doing is having the right effect.'
A Seat at the Table
The Seat at the Table report, released July 2020, looks at the make-up of 12 key music industry trade bodies with a gender analysis and an intersectional analysis of Black women, looking at the diversity within these organisations and their Board members, CEOs and chairpersons and their teams.
The data is crucial. It helps us to identify where we need to focus more work on and also track progress on initiatives. The journey to diversity, equality and inclusion is going to be long term. We need to constantly monitor to understand where we need to do more work, and if what we are doing is having the right effect.
Women in CTRL’s recent report found that 34 percent of Board members are women and only three percent are Black women. We also found that there was less representation of women in senior roles such as CEOs and chair positions, with only one chair position being held by a woman across the organisation and three female chief execs to eight male.
We look to trade organisations to set the example for others in the industry. We are engaging with all organisations in the report to understand their issues with diversity and to help find solutions to tackle the disparity. We will be publishing another report in July 2021 to monitor the progress.
We believe that change comes from the top and by having diverse voices and experience in boards and at senior level brings a wealth of advantage to organisations and enables them to start tackling the lack of diversity across the breadth of their organisation.
'We believe that change comes from the top and by having diverse voices and experience in boards and at senior level brings a wealth of advantage to organisations.'
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Women in CTRL regularly hosts webinars and training for our members. We recently held a live webinar called Breaking the Glass Ceiling with speakers Alison Wenham, Vick Bain and Maxie Gedge from Keychange. It was an important session discussing how women break through the glass ceiling and get to leadership roles.
I’m inspired by the work Vick Bain has done, both in her time at BASCA (Ivors) improving diversity, and with her recent report Counting the Music. It was released in 2019 and found that 14 percent signed to publishers are women and 20 percent signed to record labels are women.
Alison Wenham is also a big role model of mine, so it was an honour to have her give advice and wisdom in the session, and I think the work Keychange is doing is really important too, so it was great to have Maxie there.
You can re-watch the session in full on our website, along with many other webinars on a variety of topics including financial support, social media strategy, income for artists and building a team.
'If we are looking at the culture of the industry and what it owes to Black music, as well as the popularity of Black music/musicians right now, it’s clear to see that there needs to be better representation.'
As highlighted in the Women in CTRL report, the disparity still runs high for women and especially Black women. If we are looking at the culture of the industry and what it owes to Black music, as well as the popularity of Black music/musicians right now, it’s clear to see that there needs to be better representation to reflect that, especially at decision making level.
Diversity needs to also be reflected within the teams managing campaigns at labels, all the way through to senior management and board level and to those that are controlling budgets and spending.
Following #TheShowMustBePaused campaign, many organisations in the music industry pledged their support and commitment to diversity. Organisations must hold themselves accountable to their statements on diversity and commit to change.
To work towards a truly diverse and inclusive music industry change needs to happen within the organisations. Everybody can action change regardless of their size or resources, if there is the intent to change then change can happen.
'We need organisations to commit to gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting and to closing the gap.'
We must set targets so we can monitor the progress. Women in CTRL will be conducting a follow up report in 2021 to track progress. It is going to take constant work.
Gender disparity is still rife in senior levels within the music industry, the gender pay gap results this year show an average of 70/30 disparity against women in the top quartile. We need organisations to commit to gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting and to closing the gap.
Ethnic minorities are still very underrepresented in the music industry and we are working with the organisations in the study to look to increasing diversity within their member communities, teams and boards by the next report.
You can become a free member, join our growing network of women in the industry, and get access to member benefits including a personal induction session, training and webinars with industry experts, networking and an opportunity to get involved in our work.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Women in CTRL the work that we do or getting involved then please contact me via email or social media @womeninctrl.