Examining Why Women Are So Scarce in Composing Music for Film

Research sponsored by APRA AMCOS, the organization that oversees copyrights for songwriters, composers and music publishers in Australia, examined why only 13 percent of the people who composed music for major films are women.

In a survey of a large number of screen composers, 67 percent of women composers agreed with the statement that “gender discrimination is common in the industry.” Only 32 percent of male composers agreed.

In interviews, many women complained the industry was a “boy’s club.” Others said they had experienced a studio culture that was misogynistic and other women composers reported that they had been sexually harassed. Women screen composers also said that production schedules were often difficult for mothers.

The surveys also found that far fewer women than men were enrolling in higher education courses that concentrated on composing for film. Part of the explanation for this phenomenon is that these courses tended to be technology driven and women have tended to avoid these courses.

The authors state that “asking men to at least think about how their practices and decision-making processes may be negatively impacting women, and to acknowledge that women’s experiences of the industry may be very different to their own is a simple starting point, but one that needs to go much further. Other strategies such as finding ways for women to network and develop partnerships that help sustain their careers should be considered.”


Filed Under: Research/Study

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