New report shows major gender disparity in UK dance music

A new report has highlighted a major gender imbalance in UK dance music.

The Progressing Gender Representation in UK Dance Music report, spearheaded by BBC Radio 1 DJ Jaguar Bingham, found that only 5 per cent of dance hits are by women.

It also found that less than one per cent of dance music played on UK radio was made by a female solo artist or all-female band and they were under represented at music festivals.

The study analysed 22 festival line-ups from 2018-2022 and found the gender split considerably favoured male artists, with the average percentage of female and non-binary acts comprising just 14 per cent of the line-ups in 2018.

According to the report, this has since increased to 28 per cent but women are often relegated to warm-up slots at the bottom of the bill.

DJ Jaguar Bingham CREDIT: Getty

“You can’t be what you can’t see. And if you look at the line-ups and you’re seeing these headliners and majority of the line-up is men, you’re not going to see yourself represented,” Jaguar told Sky News.

“And it’s the same as in hearing tracks on the radio or in streaming or in the charts [which are by non-male artists alone], which is 5 per cent on the charts and 1 per cent in radio, which is so small. As a radio presenter, that makes me very sad. And if you don’t see yourself in that space, you’re not going to think, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll learn to make house music or get some decks and I’ll learn to DJ’. What we found in the report is that people don’t feel safe or visible or welcomed.”

Additionally, report highlighted the fact that many women feel unsafe in clubs.

Jaguar added: “A lot of this job is traveling around late at night on your own, often going to clubs and venues where people are intoxicated. You go to the green room before your set, and there’s often loads of people in their drinking and smoking.

Stock photo of people in a nightclub. CREDIT: Wavebreak Media ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

“And sexual assault is rife in nightlife industry as well, and it’s something that really needs to be talked about more and regulated.”

She has set up two different initiatives – Future1000 a free online course for girls, trans and non-binary people aged between 12 and 18 to learn to DJ, make music and get a start in the industry and the Jaguar Foundation which aims to make electronic music more accessible for all.

Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday (August 2) that one in five UK nightclubs have shut in the last three years, according to data shared by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.