Since 1975, International Women's Day has been designated as a global day of recognition for women, taking place annually on March 8th. It also coincides with the American Women's History Month. But historically, the event dates back to the early 1900s, linked to early feminist and workers' rights movements. From protest movements to a celebration of women's suffrage, the date has become a focal point and rallying cry for gender equity worldwide.
It's no secret that we've still got a long way to go in ensuring equal opportunities, pay and platforms for women, along with non-binary individuals. This is especially true in the electronic music industry—a 2020 study from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found only 21.7% of artists in the genre identify as female.
To celebrate International Women's Day 2021, we're honoring some of the women trailblazers who fall within that minority, many of which have been forging new ground in EDM for years. To tap into the resilient energy that drives much of their work and their hopes for a truly equal world beyond music, we asked them, "What does International Women's Day mean to you, and why is it important?" Read responses from Aluna, TOKiMONSTA and many more below, in alphabetical order.
"To me, International Women's Day is about reflecting on all that women have done to help change the world for the better. It is a time for us to celebrate how strong and courageous women are. As a female producer in a male dominated industry, I feel it is important to break through those norms to show that anyone can produce music regardless of gender identity."
"For me, this day is always an opportunity to think about my long term goals for myself and other women who face the same obstacles that I do. I want to move the needle on how Black women experience the music industry, especially in dance. There is work to do in every single area, from correcting the erasure of the Black history from dance music and investing in the development of Black women producers, all the way to implementing new measures to ensure diversity when booking festivals. That means having Black women in more positions of power at the gateway check points all along that journey."
"It is important to remember both the social, economic and political achievements and the discrimination and violence to which women have been and are still subjected in many parts of the world. I’m really proud to be part of a musical scene which is growing up day by day, giving credit and importance to incredible women who have a lot to say through music."
"International Women’s Day is more important than ever. We are not living in an equal world and we have to fight for our rights all the way. Even if we make improvements for women in our own industry, it is hard to claim success if we have such injustice in the world we live in. In countries we are traveling to for performances or where we sell our music, woman have no rights and are suppressed. We cannot stop pointing out these injustices. Woman can change the world and we have to not stop until this is achieved."
"Being a woman in a male dominated industry and genre is something I’ve gotten used to. I grew up in a house with two brothers, so I’ve always been 'one of the guys.' But as I get older and start to look at my future, I realize the black and white differences of being a male versus a female artist. For one, I want to have a family, so unlike the male artists in my space, I’m thinking about my career in that light. I look up to artists like Anna Lunoe and so many more who are raising a family one night and playing a festival the next. It’s a superhuman task. And when I look at the list of female electronic artists to collaborate with, it’s shockingly small. We are making great leaps but still have such a long way to go."
"Having female role models played such a huge part in my pursuit of music as a career. I think without seeing someone else do it, it's hard to imagine it's possible. I am lucky enough to work with so many women on both a creative and a business level. International Women's Day is important for this reason: shedding light on all the incredible achievements women have made and are making in order to lift, encourage and inspire the next generation."
"International Women's Day to me is a day where we recognize that women, now more than ever, can take charge of their own destinies. Growing up I saw very few, if any, examples of women artists. I am happy to be in control of my own career and able to make my own creative decisions with a team that supports me in my vision. These days it is not so much the struggle of getting more women into the music industry, but more about cultivating the talent that those women have. This is a new reality and the possibilities for women are endless."
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"International Women's Day to me is just a wicked day where we can celebrate all of the talented women in the music industry and even outside of it. I do what I can to push the women within the drum and bass scene, where there aren't as many women involved. And the music industry as a whole has so many talented women: DJs, Producers, MCs, managers, graphic designers, sound engineers, artwork designers, agents. This is why IWD is so important. We all come together and shout about just how talented all of these people are and what they do for our industry."
"International Women's Day is a reminder to pause and give thanks to our fore-sisters: for all they endured to enable us to enjoy some of the same privileges as our male counterparts. It's also important to remember that while we have made progress, there is still a long way to go."
NINA LAS VEGAS
"Artists are expected to build a digital relationship with their audience, something that doesn’t always come naturally. I’m a true believer in spotlighting your personal wins to encourage others. However, it’s that kind of confidence that so many of my male peers in EDM practice every day and womxn find a little harder. 'Am I being too proud? Am I being too confident?' It’s that unspoken boldness that I wish more of womxn exhibited, proudly, without fear of being belittled online or questioned. I appreciate International Women's Day for highlighting some of these wins for us."
NORA EN PURE
"International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on all the women that came before us and paved the way for us. It is a day to celebrate but also to look to the future, ensuring we are moving in the right direction when it comes to equality. When it comes to gender, I can only hope that one day it will no longer need to be a topic of conversation and we can achieve equal rights and opportunities for all."
"It’s important for women to have this day to remind us that we all exist in this world equally. Even though this should be something we are reminded of every day. I know sometimes it’s hard, especially for women who are in the industry where we don’t have a 50/50 ratio of men and women. International Women’s Day reminds me that we are not alone."
"International Women's Day for me is a day to stop and recognize how far we have come and how much we have achieved, and to use this reflection to empower myself to continue pushing forward. It's important to recognize the challenges that we have overcome and the goals and dreams that we have achieved, to give us the energy and strength to continue to strive for equality, especially when we find ourselves in those dark moments of adversity or inequity.
"International Women’s Day is more than just celebrating our collective successes and achievements. It’s about accelerating gender parity and seeing positive change for women all over the world. We may see women excel in industrialized and Western cultures. There is still mass scrutiny and inequality for women in much of the rest of the world. We should create a movement that helps those women that need it the most."
"International Women's Day is every day for me. There are so many amazing women from all over the world doing incredible things, and they're not getting the recognition or opportunities they deserve. Especially when it relates to art and music, women are leading the charge, speaking their minds, creating beautiful projects, and showing their leadership qualities. I'm blessed to be who I am today, to endure the things I have, and to see that even though we have a long way to go, we're making progress here each and every day."
"International Women’s Day to me means giving women the platform for equality in all aspects of life and acknowledging women as having the same rights in what is a male orientated world. As a female DJ, for me it’s about breaking the stereotypes of a male populated industry. This has made me even more determined to breakthrough as an established female artist."