02 Feb 2024
Diversity Lens - 209
February is here and so is a shiny new episode of your favourite podcast, Diversity Unplugged 🎧 This time we sat down with esteemed special guest Lynne Parker from Funny Women. The chat covers how ageism, sexism and more affect the world of work; with a brief interlude about the launch of a certain stretchy clothing! It's a fun Friday listen, we promise. Get your ears on it.
QUICK FIRE NEWS 🧨
LET'S GET INTO IT 🤓
Music industry still a "boys' club" 🙄
What's the latest? A report from a committee of MPs has uncovered an 'endemic' of misogyny and discrimination where sexual harassment is commonplace. Women tended not to report incidents for fear of not being believed, so abusers go unpunished.
What can be done? The committee suggested changes to the Equality Act to give freelance workers more protection, along with funding to get more women into the sector. Underrepresentation of women, lack of equal pay, gender discrimination are sadly common within many sectors, but this is exacerbated in the music industry by the high number of freelance workers, the informal nature of workplaces, and late night working hours. This is all feeds into working environments that are incredibly unsafe for women.
The report makes for hard, yet sadly unsurprising reading. From being forced to sit next to their assailants in industry events to the eye-watering amount of incidents that have been gotten away with, because there’s still fear that nobody will believe them.
For an industry that supposedly is one of the champions of our culture, it’s disappointing that it perpetuates one of the worst facets of it; for every empowering girl group or fight song there’s also a story of suffering that could counterbalance it. This, alongside the government proposing to defund music T-levels risks further entrenching the people and voices we have in the music industry, as it becomes a subject for the rich and elite. We must, and can do better. Our next podcast episode will be covering this very topic - stay tuned.
Anti-nonconsensual AI porn bill proposed
What's going on? This week two major AI-based attacks on women took place. First and most notably involving Taylor Swift, when AI-generated pornographic images of her started making the rounds on social media. The second instance involved an Australian MP, this time on a major news channel. Georgie Purcell's photo was used, but doctored to enlarge her breasts and expose her stomach. The news channel apologised and blamed "automation by Photoshop."
What's the big deal? There is a huge threat of AI misuse emerging specifically towards women. We are seeing in real time how powerful a tool it can be to harass and objectify women, furthering misogynistic narratives.
The new bill was introduced by US senators this week in response to an “exponentially” growing volume of these kind of deepfake images. Generative AI tools have become accessible to most people now, and the lack of regulation should be a scary prospect for everyone, but particularly women. It reportedly takes just 25 minutes and costs nothing to create artificial pornography.
Headteacher bans praying at school 🤯
Michaela Community School in North London, previously dubbed the ‘strictest school in Britain’, is being taken to court over implementing a prayer ban.
Despite the headteacher insisting that the policy is vital to ‘ensure children of all races and religions can thrive’, it is effectively a ban uniquely on Muslim prayer. This is due to the praying time falling within the school day, and the nature of the practice, requiring more ritual action compared to other religions.
How does this impact Muslim students? The student described the ban as “like somebody saying they don’t feel like I properly belong here”, and alleges it breaches their right to freedom of religion.
But it doesn’t impact just one person - around half of the school’s 700 students are Muslim. Since prayer mats have been banned, they have resorted to using their blazers to kneel and pray outside.
What does this mean for wider society? The headteacher in question is now campaigning for prayers to be forbidden in all schools across Britain. This is likely to further incite anti-Muslim hatred and create a culture of fear, instead of allowing different religious beliefs to thrive harmoniously.
THIS WEEK WE'RE LOVING ✨
🗡️☠️ The Traitors: Office Edition
🤚🏿 Initiative showing medical conditions on darker skin tones