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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO Dutch: Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) is the national research council of the Netherlands. NWO funds thousands of top researchers at universities and institutes and steers the course of Dutch science by means of subsidies and research programmes.

The NWO creative industry program – Knowledge Innovation Mapping (KIEM) aims to focus on the development of short-term fundamental or industrial research projects with the goal of encouraging partnerships between knowledge institutions and private partners.

Our current research projectWomen Assistants and Male Executives? Understanding Gender Barriers in the Dutch Music Industry’ in collaboration with the NWO KIEM looks into gender inequality in the music business where we investigate the socio-cultural practices disadvantaging women working behind the scenes within the Dutch music industry:

Since 2013, female popular music stars have gained visibility and prominence in the international music industry, often ranking at the top of international charts. However, behind the performance stage, women are gravely underrepresented. This study looks at gender inequality in the music business and investigates the socio-cultural practices disadvantaging women working behind the scenes within the Dutch music industry. This research integrates sociological approaches, feminist and gender frameworks, cultural theories, and new insights with aim of supporting the important debate on how to address this gender gap and further how to approach this societal challenge. By identifying how and when this happens, this research will provide policy leaders the necessary data to construct infrastructure and organisational support for especially these precarious groups.

On Friday the 21st of September, the University of Groningen, in collaboration with ICOG and IASPM Benelux, will hold a symposium funded by the NWO KIEM project to research “Gender Dynamics in the Dutch Music Industries”. During this first workshop of a 4-part, year-long series of workshops and discussions, the gender relations in music festival programs will be examined and discussed with professionals from the industry and academics engaged with gender research in popular music. Students will present their research and industry professionals will offer insight into what goes on behind the scenes of the music business. Further, together we will explore how current booking practices influence the broader gender dynamics within Dutch society. Ultimately, we will pose the question if gender quotas may be the solution to breaking down gender barriers in festival line-ups, setting a powerful and symbolic message to other labour fields.