New research by the UK Musicians’ Union reveals that 48% of members surveyed have been sexually harassed at work, and more than half have witnessed incidents of sexual harassment while working.
According to the survey, sexual harrasment is widespread, so much so that 61% of musicians who took the survey said they feel at greater risk of experiencing sexual harassment because of their freelance status.
An overwhelming majority of members who experienced sexual harassment at work said that they did not report their experiences (85%). Their main reasons for not reporting were the culture where they worked (56%), followed by fear of losing work (41%).
The MU is campaigning for stronger protections from sexual harassment at work, particularly for freelancers, and has launched an online petition.
Earlier this year, the UK Government held a consultation on preventing sexual harassment at work. However, the proposed protection would be limited to employees and workers only, leaving freelancers without any meaningful protection.
The MU’s research shows that freelancers feel at greater risk of sexual harassment because of their employment status, and are less likely to report it if it happens.
The MU said:
‘We’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is for freelancers to report sexual harassment. We’ve seen musicians, mostly female, threatened, bad mouthed to colleagues, fired, not hired again and even sued by perpetrators – and the list goes on.
‘This shows us is that the levels of protection there for freelancers are not as strong as they are for other workers, and must therefore be made stronger.’