Sounding the Feminists Hold First Public Meeting

Sounding the Feminists Hold First Public Meeting

'Behind us is a whole movement of people, always moving forward' – Karen Power

The Sounding the Feminists (STF) collective held their first public meeting on 13 September, hosted by working group members Karen Power, Jenny O’Connor-Madsen, Laura Watson and Amanda Feery. 

The collective – inspired by the Waking the Feminists (WTF) movement which highlighted the issues of gender imbalance in Irish theatre – is ‘committed to promoting and publicising the creative work of female musicians’, and advocating for equality, fairness and diversity in Irish music. Their mission statement can be read on the STF website

Research and action
As part of the meeting, two members of WTF discussed their experiences, citing their research into the gender balance among roles within ten of the top publicly funded theatre organisations in Ireland. Dr Brenda Donoghue, WTF research project leader, discussed the findings of this research, including the dispararity in representation in various roles in theatre, such as authors, of whom only 28% were women. Significantly for Sounding the Feminists, one of the most gendered roles within theatre was sound engineering, with only 9% women. 

Olwen Dawe, policy advocate and consultant, discussed the conclusions drawn from this research, such as the lack of role-models, unconscious bias and structural issues such as lack of available childcare, and discussed the practical actions that can be taken to propose changes to address the unbalance. 

The STF group are currently putting together funding proposals to undertake similar research in the area of music. STF Secretary Jenny O’Connor-Madsen emphasised that the group is ‘trying to open the conversation. It’s not about pointing fingers… having the question considered is a great first step’.  

Earlier this year, members of Sounding the Feminists began a successful social media campaign to highlight the work of female composers using #HearAllComposers, a campaign that quickly spread to many other countries. Engagement Officer Amanda Feery also created two mixtapes of music by female Irish composers for the Contemporary Music Centre. The future of the group will include similar social media campaigns, as well as advocacy, education and events.

The meeting was streamed online and can be viewed on the STF Facebook page at

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Published on 25 September 2017

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