Women in CTRL works to identify barriers for women in music and aims to create sustainable solutions around them. We campaign, lobby and advise industry associates and organisations on issues relevant to our members.
We also conduct research so we can identify issues and to monitor progress and change in the industry.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 in their board members, CEOs and their teams.
In addition, Women in CTRL operates as a private membership community. It's a place to connect with like-minded women and non-binary individuals.
I spoke to some of the members of the Women in CTRL community, including founder Nadia Khan, to find out how they’re involved with the organisation and explore the support they’ve found within it.
'I am proud of the community we have built. I am inspired by Nadia and the work she does and each member of our community.'
Me, Claire Rose
I have worked in the music industry for over seven years. In that time, I have experienced sexism, unconscious bias and sexual harassment. I have been in situations where people have refused to take me seriously, refused to shake my hand (but will shake the hand of my male counterparts) and doubted my knowledge and skills. I approached Nadia to help build a platform for the Women in CTRL community to help to empower and support other women in the music industry. I want to help eradicate the behaviour I have experienced and to make the music industry a safer, more diverse place for all women.
The community has over 500 members from across the world. We provide events which discuss topics such as sexism in the music industry, LGBTQ+, mental health, sexual harassment and how men can be better allies. We also run skill and educational workshops/webinars and host fun social evenings. All these activities are designed to empower our community, help them to progress within their career and provide a safe space to network and connect. We encourage our members to share their skills and we give them the space to have their voice heard.
Since our launch we have seen some amazing success stories. We have had people get jobs having been made redundant, individuals being signed to publishing deals, studio opportunities, collaboration opportunities and members connecting and working together to build each other’s confidence and progress within their career.
I am proud of the community we have built. I am inspired by Nadia and the work she does and each member of our community.
As a woman navigating the industry, I often felt invisible or isolated, and I saw other incredible women doing great work and not being celebrated or rising in the same way as their male counterparts. This led to the birth of Women in CTRL.
Founder of Women in CTRL
I started Women in CTRL over three years ago, but I have been working in the industry for over 19 years, 16 years of that in artist management. I run my own management and consultancy business CTRL Music, and I am also the Chair of AIM (Association of Independent Music) who promote and support the diverse independent music sector.
Over my career, working in a male dominated industry, I have achieved a lot of success and had some incredible life experiences. I have travelled the world, been part of the biggest shows and tours, and ran many charts hit campaigns independently. However, this success has not come without its challenges. When I started out in the industry I struggled to be taken seriously. I was rejected for managing an artist as I was too ‘inexperienced’, but I worked hard to prove those that doubted me wrong and within three months I was brought on as the manager. I have also been turned away at the door by bouncers at shows where my artists are performing and had to call a man that works for me to come and vouch for me. I have been thrown off stages at festivals by security, and I have lost count of the number of times I have been mistaken as a groupie, assistant or stylist.
As a woman navigating the industry, I often felt invisible or isolated, and I saw other incredible women doing great work and not being celebrated or rising in the same way as their male counterparts. This led to the birth of Women in CTRL. My first Women in CTRL was Afryea Henry-Fontaine, now Marketing Director of Motown Records UK.
I am aware that there are many barriers for women in music and Women in CTRL’s work is centred around identifying, highlighting, and creating solutions, whilst amplifying the voices of those affected. I opened Women in CTRL up for free membership last year, and we have over 2500 members across the industry.
'I have been blown away by the work Nadia has done around diversity, female empowerment and it has been inspiring to see more changes happening following her Seat At The Table Report.'
My name is Laughta, I am a music artist, radio presenter and I also produce, mix and master music. I joined Women In CTRL because I wanted to meet new people and have a safe space to share experiences and connect with others. I have been blown away by the work Nadia has done around diversity, female empowerment and it has been inspiring to see more changes happening following her Seat At The Table Report.
When I heard Women in CTRL launched a safe community space, I immediately joined. Since, I have gained so much confidence, and as a mental health advocate who is a qualified psychology teacher, I am currently hosting mental wellbeing workshops every month for the community. I started ‘check in’ sessions as I wanted to create a support system for individuals who want to share their feelings and not feel judged, undermined and to make them feel uplifted. As someone who suffers with anxiety, I understand the importance of assisting others in time of need.
Women in CTRL empowered me to start filming and releasing videos which teach beginners how to record and engineer themselves from the comfort of their home. Thanks to the Women In CTRL community I have had the chance to get into a professional studio with award winning composer and producer Andrew Kingslow and song writer/artist, Br!dge, to make some incredible music. I had never experienced a producer making a beat with live instruments and it was so inspiring! Since that session I have pushed myself to create more beats all thanks to me meeting manager/producer Trina Smith on the Women In CTRL platform. I am grateful for all the work being done and the Women In CTRL community.
'I have been fully shielding since March last year and the one thing that's helped me to stay busy and focused is the countless Women in CTRL workshops.'
I joined the Women in CTRL community at the beginning when it was just a few trailing out the community platform.
From the beginning I felt so appreciated and supported among the members. Having a disability, it can feel intimidating. However, the community was always there to help, should I need anything. Then back when I was leading up to two single releases last year, I posted to get feedback and the response and support was incredible. It was so helpful to have other creatives who liked my music and really rallied behind me.
I have been fully shielding since March last year and the one thing that's helped me to stay busy and focused is the countless Women in CTRL workshops that have allowed for me to really learn about the industry.
Recently I have been actively looking for a work from home job opportunity, within the field of social media marketing and music related jobs, it has been amazing to see what is arising now.
Thank you to Nadia and Claire for creating such a safe, positive, and supportive environment.
'I joined Women In CTRL because I was keen to find a comfortable online space to network with other women and build connections.'
In recent years I have heard more women speak out about the difficulties they have faced working in music because of their gender. I find platforms created specifically for women, trans and non-binary folk a great support and space of empowerment. This is the platform that Women In CTRL provides.
There are lots of incredible men within the music world who are true allies but there are also many who do not know how to share their space or allow women to have theirs without smothering it. Having a networking members site to reach out to other women for guidance and connection, without running the risk of being undermined, talked at, or made to feel small (I have sadly experienced this with some men in the industry) has not only been important and helpful for my career but also my self-esteem and wellbeing.
I joined Women In CTRL because I was keen to find a comfortable online space to network with other women and build connections.
Being a Women In CTRL member has led me to signing a music publishing deal. During the pandemic I had been thinking a lot about music publishing in order to monetise my music further and help increase sync licensing deals and other song writing opportunities. I had been offered a few publishing contracts previously, for various reasons they were not right for me. I connected with May Music LTD when Women in CTRL first launched. I felt comfortable reaching out to the founder Laura to find out more about her publishing company and how she works with artists. We arranged a Zoom meeting and just hit it off straight away. As an artist and a songwriter having someone who genuinely believes in you and feels passionate about your music is a big deal. Taking that next step to work together officially highlights that belief the person has in your work. Without this platform I am not sure we would have connected at this time.
'I am grateful that I saw how amazing Women in CTRL was then and now to be a part of a community of strong, beautiful, and goal-getting women truly is heaven-sent.'
The name of this great community itself shows strength and power. I had been following Women in CTRL for a while and always attended any gatherings or seminars they were holding. I have always had to do things alone, especially in music but whenever I would attend their events, I would feel like I am not on my own. Just knowing someone went through a similar situation as you help the journey be a little bit smoother. So, when Women in CTRL revamped itself, I really wanted to be a part of the community. From the events and webinars to the fun zoom calls, Women in CTRL really has helped me find the piece I needed to feel whole in an industry dominated by males. It gives me hope and enhances my own self-belief.
Mental health matters. Music matters. Women in CTRL has provided some seminars with a therapist which was great. Women in CTRL has helped my mental health and my music career. I am grateful that I saw how amazing Women in CTRL was then and now to be a part of a community of strong, beautiful, and goal-getting women truly is heaven-sent. Thank you for the space and support you continually provide for us. I strongly recommended any female who just wants to be inspired or be a part of a community of predominantly women should join Women in CTRL. Women in Ctrl - helps me to find the power in me to take control.
Membership is open to all genders and Women in CTRL particularly welcome women, transgender, non-binary and gender variant individuals of all ages; those who identify at LGBTQ+, individuals from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds or are registered disabled - all these groups are currently underrepresented within the music industry.
If you want to be part of our growing, safe and empowering community, join here.