Image for ‘Women-Only’ Music Festival Found Guilty Of Discrimination In SwedenStatement Festival 2018 / Photo: Frida Winter / Getty Images

‘Women-Only’ Music Festival Found Guilty Of Discrimination In Sweden

Written by Tom Williams on December 20, 2018

A Swedish music festival billed as “the world’s first major music festival for women, non-binary and transgender [people] only” has been found guilty of discrimination.

Statement Festival, which was first announced in July 2017 following a swathe of sexual assaults at local festivals, has been found in breach of a law banning gender discrimination.

The festival, which debuted in Gothenburg in August this year after raising around AUD$80,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, was investigated by Sweden’s discrimination ombudsman, DO.

In its ruling, DO found that while festival organisers didn’t enforce a “man-free” rule at the event entry, statements issued by organisers prior to the event “discouraged” cis men by telling them they weren’t allowed to enter the festival.

DO said no penalties would be imposed on the festival, however, as no one suffered damages.

In a statement posted to social media, Statement Festival organisers responded by saying:

“It’s sad that what 5,000 women, non-binaries and transgender experienced as a life-changing festival made a few cis men lose it completely.

“The success of the Statement festival shows that is exactly what we need and the DO’s verdict doesn’t change this fact. Otherwise, we have no comments. We are busy changing the world.”

Statement Festival was founded by comedian Emma Knyckare after a series of sexual assaults at Swedish music festivals, including four rapes and 23 sexual assaults at the 2017 edition of the country’s biggest music festival, Bråvalla.

If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732.

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