Experiences and perceptions of gender in the Australian music industry


  • Hannah Mary Fairlamb University of Adelaide alumna
  • Bianca Fileborn University of Melbourne




music, gender, sexual harassment, Australia, music industry, popular music


This article reports results from an online survey (n=207) about experiences and perceptions of gender from those working in the Australian music industry. Taking a feminist approach, theory on gender and hegemonic masculinity is used to discuss power in a gendered context in this industry. Literature shows women and girls experience a range of difficulties in the music industry worldwide, such as negative assumptions about their skill levels. The small body of research on gender and the Australian music industry has discussed topics such as the forgetting of women in Australian popular music history. Results reported in this article show that women’s worst experiences most often related to sexual violence or unwanted sexual advances; and men’s most often related to money. Findings contribute to the field by providing gendered analysis of self-reported data in an under-researched industry.

Author Biographies

Hannah Mary Fairlamb, University of Adelaide alumna

Hannah Fairlamb is an Adelaide musician and researcher, currently working on Kaurna country in State Government gender policy. She is co-founder and co-director of youth music mentoring project Girls Rock! Adelaide, and is working towards solidifying this not-for-profit organization in the music industry landscape in South Australia

Bianca Fileborn, University of Melbourne

Dr Bianca Fileborn is a Lecturer in Criminology and DECRA ARC Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne. Her current work focuses on public harassment and victim-centred justice, sexual violence and safety at music festivals, and safety and harassment of users of taxi and ride share services.


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How to Cite

Fairlamb, H. M., & Fileborn, B. (2020). Experiences and perceptions of gender in the Australian music industry. Perfect Beat, 20(1), 8–39. https://doi.org/10.1558/prbt.39800