Stepping Aside: Gender equality and privilege in Australian music culture


This talk draws on recent statistical data to examine the current situation for women working as music composers in Australia.

Start Date

21st Mar 2018 5:30pm

End Date

21st Mar 2018 7:00pm


Dechaineux Theatre, Centre for the Arts, Hunter Street

RSVP / Contact Information


presented by

Professor Cat Hope

Monash University

Issues such as domestic violence, the pay gap, equal employment participation, the housing market and even the 2016 US election have brought about considerable debate where the impact on women has been highlighted. In 2016, Australia was ranked 46th of 144 on the World Economic Forum’s global index measuring gender equality, slipping from a high point of 15th in 2006, suggesting the opportunities for women in Australia are decreasing. It is in this climate gender equality and opportunity need to be assessed in the world of music. Despite some feisty discussions on social media and in the blogosphere, measuring the participation of women in music are often complicated by multiple contributing factors such as age, race, education and the complex notion of privilege.

This talk examines the current situation for women working as music composers in Australia by engaging recent statistical data to bring together some current debates. Recent data overwhelmingly points to inherent problems in the music industry, demonstrating that women do not have the same opportunities as men working in music composition. It also tells us that the majority of men and women do not believe this to be the case, despite the overwhelming proof.

The presentation also discusses proposed and implemented strategies employed by Australian individuals and organisations attempting to ensure greater gender equality, as well as the strengths, weaknesses and suitability of such strategies are also examined.

About Cat Hope

Professor Cat Hope has an active profile as a researcher, composer, sound artist, musician and artistic director. She is the co - author of Digital Arts - An introduction to New Media (Bloomsbury, 2014) and the director of the Decibel new music ensemble. She is a Churchill and Civitella Ranieri Fellow, and has been awarded the APRA|AMC Award for Excellence in Experimental Music on two occasions. She is Professor of Music and Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.

Hosted by the Creative Exchange Institute at the University of Tasmania.