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Icelandic music festival first to reach 50% female acts

Signal of change / Icelandic music festival first to reach 50% female acts

By Jordan McKay / 01 Aug 2018

Iceland Airwaves, a festival this November, is one of 109 music festivals that have joined the Keychange Initiative to address gender inequality at live music events. With more than 50% of Iceland Airwave’s confirmed acts as female, the event promises to be the first major festival to achieve the initiative’s 50/50 gender objective.

The European Union-backed Keychange Initiative includes BBC Proms and South By Southwest among other notable festival signatories.

So what?

With gender equality ever more prominent in the public eye, and with brands like Smirnoff launching marketing campaign-initiative hybrids promoting gender equality, it is striking that only one major music festival has achieved 50% female acts.

What combination of business, policy, and civil society engagement is most effective in promoting gender equality? While all three are certainly required for systemic change, will initiatives like these, that reward voluntary action with social recognition, hasten progress towards gender equality?


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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