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MPs to scrutinise sexism in educational settings and music industry as Committee broadens work on Violence Against Women and Girls

9 June 2022

The House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee today opens two new inquiries as part of its body of work looking into how policies and attitudes in society can change to help tackle Violence Against Women and Girls. Since launching the umbrella inquiry in Autumn 2021, the Committee has investigated the pornography industry.  

Music and educational settings are now to come into focus, as the cross-party group of MPs looks to hear from experts, people with lived experience and charities on how misogyny presents itself in the two areas, and the policies and culture shifts needed to prevent violence and other forms of misogyny.  

Misogyny in Music 

In recent years, a number of studies and reports have brought to light the extent to which women working within the music industry experience sexism, including allegations of harassment and coercive control. The Committee's inquiry will explore the sexism experienced by women within the industry, but will also look at the representation of women within music and the effect of this on consumers. The inquiry will also focus on harassment at festivals and other live music events.  

The Committee is therefore seeking written submissions by Sunday 17th July addressing any or all of the following topics:  

  • What correlation exists, if any, between misogynistic lyrics and violence against women and girls? 
  • What types of support exists for women experiencing sexism or misogyny in the music industry? How can they report problems or abuse? 
  • How safe do women and girls feel at live music concerts and festivals? 
  • What expectations are there on women working in the music industry compared to men?  
  • What steps should the Government and other industry bodies take to tackle misogynistic and sexist attitudes towards women in music? 

Oral evidence sessions for this inquiry are to begin in Autumn 2022.  

Attitudes to Women and Girls in Educational Settings

Committee Member Jackie Doyle-Price will be chairing a Sub-Committee of MPs from the Women and Equalities Committee who will meet in addition to the usual Committee meetings to focus exclusively on the topic of attitudes to women and girls in educational settings. The inquiry will scrutinise how attitudes in educational settings, from early years to university, affect women and girls throughout their lives. MPs will explore the prevalence of misogyny within the education system- including reports of widespread sexual harassment within schools and lad culture within universities, the ways in which it presents itself, and how far Government initiatives such as updated Sex and Relationships Education address the issues.  

Jackie Doyle-Price MP's comment

The new Chair of the sub-Committee, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, said: 

“In conversations with stakeholders and our survey of the public, this came up as one of the most pressing and important issues for the Committee to focus on. It is absolutely crucial that we explore the extent of challenges facing women and girls throughout their education. Alongside cross-party colleagues, we will be dedicating full resource to this inquiry as well as the ongoing work of the wider Women and Equalities Committee.” 

The Committee will be drawing on an existing body of evidence including academic papers, reports and submissions to other Select Committee inquiries, including its predeocessor Committee, to answer the following questions:  

  • What are the experiences of women and girls in educational settings? How widespread is the problem and are there particular problem areas?  
  • What support exists for women and girls experiencing different types of harassment in educational settings? How effective is this support? 
  • What ongoing impact do negative experiences in educational settings have on women and girls? 
  • To what extent do the attitudes from boys/men in educational settings translate to adulthood? 
  • What is the ongoing impact on boys of being exposed to toxic attitudes towards women and girls?  
  • What interventions are currently in place in different educational settings? How effective are they on changing attitudes for the better? 
  • How effective are the Government’s current strategies to combat harassment and abuse toward women and girls in educational settings? 
  • What more could the Government do to improve the situation in educational settings? 

Oral evidence sessions for this inquiry are to begin in June 2022.  

Chair's comment  

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, said: 

"Music is a huge cornerstone of our culture. We must question the effect that constant misogynistic references to women in lyrics has on society. We must also address the seemingly commonplace stories of sexist and unfair treatment of artists and professionals within the industry. Our inquiry looks to uncover the full extent of misogyny in music, its broader effects, and ask what we as lawmakers can do." 

"Separately, 9 in 10 schoolgirls have experienced sexual harassment, according to an Ofsted report from last June. Clearly, something within our safeguarding system, or our culture, is broken. We are establishing a separate sub-Committee to dedicate enough time and resources to scrutinising this issue, from early years through to university. Education is the essential foundation to the rest of life- we must ensure that ours does not bake in misogyny from the outset."

Further information

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