The Australian Recording Industry Association has responded to claims of gender discrimination regarding the 2022 ARIA Awards nominations. The claims were first put forward by Brisbane artist Mallrat on social media, where she pointed out that only approximately 20% of the nominated artists were non-male.
“When I looked at the list of nominees this morning, my initial reaction was to feel personally underestimated and misunderstood by my album being snubbed,” Mallrat said. “Then I took a deep breath and I realised that it’s not about me. Approximately one in five of the nominees are non-male, and in categories like heavy rock there are no non-male artists nominated at all.”
Mallrat has criticised ARIA for lack of non-male artists in ARIA Awards nominations
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“I’m reminded that the Australian music industry, like many industries, is dominated by men, and in this case, men who don’t think an artist is credible unless it’s a nonchalant dude playing guitar rock music,” she said. “Fuck you guys, you don’t get it.”
Mallrat’s comments struck a chord and presented an opportunity for a closer look at the 2022 nominees. The Best Solo Artist category – introduced in 2021 to replace the Best Male Artist and Best Female Artist awards – features only three non-male artists out of ten nominees; Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin and Thelma Plum.
ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA has responded, telling triple j that while “overall female representation in nominees is slightly up on last year” (36% as compared to 2021’s 35%), it is still “frustrating” to see an under-representation of non-male artists.
There are 40 female nominees for this year’s ARIA Awards (that includes solo artists and groups with a female member, e.g. Ball Park Music, Spacey Jane, and Confidence Man) compared to 72 non-female nominees.
“It’s our mission to create opportunities for Australian music to be heard by all who create it, if we are not getting enough success for female artists or non-binary artists we need to tackle that at source,” Herd said.
“The awards and the charts are reflections of the music released in a year and how Australians engage with it, that’s why we are lobbying at a government and industry level for overall systemic change and representation.”
Herd pointed out that the nominated artists and ultimate winners are chosen by “voting panels made up of industry professionals, genre experts, and people from radio, media and with other connections to music” as opposed to ARIA themselves.
Herd also revealed that ARIA are in the process of reviewing their voting panels so as “to ensure balance in representation across gender, First Nations, POC, and other criteria.”
This year’s ARIAs are set to take place on Thursday, 24th November at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney.