Equal Opportunity

Women, ethnic diversity and other gender minorities

Emere Wano
Maimouna Dembele by Régina Sambou
Sonya Mazumdar by Moving Pictures


Chaired by Sonya Mazumdar (India), Earthsync;
with Emere Wano (New Zealand), Tihi Ltd;
Maimouna Dembele (Senegal), HERS (Empowering girls through arts)

Recent events and efforts for women’s rights are giving a never-before-seen momentum to a critically needed movement of worldwide conversations, awareness, brave people, celebrity headlines and actions for positive change to women’s rights.

It takes time for long established environments of gender inequality and unconscious bias to change, and fasttrack solutions could cause more harm than intended. Despite the underlying good intent of policies such as a mandatory percentage of women in businesses, festival programming or governance, there is a very real risk of them becoming discriminatory in their implementation, resulting in a ‘reservation’ system that focuses on reserving positions for women and with less importance to the core values of merit and hard work – of women, as well as other gender and ethnic minorities, the differently-abled, and men. Policies must also encourage wider inclusiveness in finding a fair balance of participation for all, and not address only male-female ratios that exclude others who also face discrimination and bias.

The panellists, who have worked in a music industry that spans continents and diverse cultures, discuss their perspectives for an industry that would offer equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender or ethnicity.