In the first part of this series, we covered a number of great organizations that are making an impact by advocating for diversity, inclusivity, and gender equity in the music industry. From programs for creatives and business professionals, to resources like job portals and community directories, we are seeing more and more support for women and gender-diverse people. To further amplify this important work, let’s take a look at a few more wonderful organizations in Canada and beyond.
Association of Canadian Women Composers
The Association of Canadian Women Composers (ACWC) has been around for over 40 years, celebrating and promoting music composed by women and women-identified persons in Canada. Part of its mission is to preserve an archive of over 120 years of material including recordings, LPs, interviews, correspondence, course materials and more, and make them available to the public and in schools. The ACWC also promotes its members online and provides funding opportunities to support their concerts, projects, and other initiatives.
“[The ACWC] was fuelled by a desire to fill a void in the Canadian music scene: the absence of women composers in concert programming across the country.” – ACWC website
Some of the publicity initiatives for their members include curating a monthly playlist of their music on SoundCloud, as well as sharing their events and content on the ACWC social media channels. Members can also submit content to be featured in the organization’s monthly newsletter, SoundBox. The ACWC also produces a bi-annual journal written by its members, featuring news on concerts, workshops, competitions, networking events, and new members.
There are four different categories of annual membership: Active ($40), Affiliate ($35), Associate ($35), and Student ($25). Registration is straightforward and accessible online.
The ACWC also has excellent resources for teachers such as scores for students of varying levels, and composition and improvisation exercises.
Music Production for Women
Music Production for Women (MPW) is exactly what it sounds like – a global online organization that provides education and community support to underrepresented genders in music production and technology.
In addition to their courses and workshops, they offer a membership that aims to provide an encouraging and safe learning space for women. Member benefits include monthly group mentoring sessions, weekly feedback on any ongoing projects, collaborator and industry lists with associated discounts, and a Discord community.
They also have loads of valuable free content across all their social channels. If you’re into podcasts, the organization’s founder, Xylo Aria, hosts the MPW Podcast: a great place to learn about gear, production and engineering techniques, and many more topics featuring different guest experts in the field.
MPW is also active in schools, where they host presentations and workshops to generate interest in music tech and raise visibility of role models for young women and gender-diverse people.
She Is The Music
“A first-of-its-kind collaboration spanning the music industry, SITM is powered by creators, publishers, record labels, talent agencies, industry groups, media companies, streaming services, and more.
Together, we are creating change for women and building an equal future for music.”
SITM is an independent global network that offers a 1:1 mentorship program, scholarship opportunities, writing camps, workshops and seminars, a college ambassador program, and more. They boast big names among their founders and various committees, from Alicia Keys to SZA, and many industry-leading partners such as Warner Music Group, Billboard, Spotify, and the Recording Academy.
The organization is committed to fighting gender disparity in the music industry by spreading awareness and increasing the number of women working in music. Their website and social media are filled with facts and figures reflecting how much farther the industry still has to go.
Women and non-binary people across all fields – and at all levels – can join the SITM database for free and create a profile. The database can be searched by keywords, roles, skills, and location.
Founded in 2017, Venus Fest is a Toronto-based festival, mentorship program, and concert series that celebrates and amplifies the contributions of women, non-binary, and gender-diverse musicians and artists, as well as other underrepresented identities including BIPOC. The heart of their mission is to create a safe space for marginalized people, and a better future for all.
“We celebrate local and touring musicians and arts workers to create inventive, wide-ranging music programming that is rooted in equity, committed to improving accessibility in the field, and people-first.” – Venus Fest website
The 3-day Venus Fest takes place at various Toronto venues and spaces, showcasing a combination of widely diverse musical performances and other creative work (think art installations, multimedia creations, etc). The Venus Fest Mentorship Program is a hybrid program that offers 1:1 online mentoring sessions with an industry expert or professional musician over the course of eight weeks. It includes on-site workshops and peer-to-peer sessions in Toronto, as well as a $500 honorarium.
To learn about more organizations advocating for gender equity in music, check out part one of our Resources for Women & Gender-Diverse People in the Music Industry series.
Written by Andria Piperni
Illustration by Yihong Guo