Rebecca Kabaya Arts Reporter
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, women in various sectors are celebrating their achievements, and also voicing concerns about the challenges they are facing.
On the local arts scene, there are a number of female musicians that have made commendable achievements through their art. Some have come up with hits, while others have been consistent in live shows. However, the majority of them expressed concern in the manner in which their artwork was being treated, saying it was not receiving fair treatment and was being evaluated based on gender.
In an interview with The Herald, female artistes from different genres expressed various thoughts and views concerning the treatment, opportunities and capacity of women in the industry:
Women don’t get it on a silver platter across the board. Socio-cultural barriers deny women the same opportunities naturally. In my field, one has to be three or more times better than our male counterparts to enjoy half the attention and appreciation our male counterparts get, whether it is from the general audience, the corporate world and across the board.
Personally, I have what it takes to be competent, but sometimes after doing a cost-benefit analysis, you find peace with what society has naturally availed for women because there are some norms that you cannot change. Women are insulted, butchered and battered for doing the same things men get applauded for. It is more traumatising when one is an innovative person, a trend setter and a leader. Such talent in women is met with so much ridicule and disapproval, that most women would rather settle for less just to fit in our society.
Women are definitely not being treated the same as men. It is very sad and draining not to be given the same chances and recognition in the music business as our fellow male musicians.
This unfair treatment is limiting us and we are optimistic for change and change begins with us the female artists.
In the music industry, we are never treated the same as men. Men are always being given opportunities, hence women don’t have enough exposure. We are currently working on an album involving 51 female artistes. The motivation behind this compilation came from too many negative articles and accusations of how women in the arts are crybabies who do not know how to work together and claim their space. The several reports on sexual harassment, abuse also motivated us to fight unfair patriarchy so as to make the playing ground fair.
I believe in talent that knows no gender, therefore, we cannot say men are being given more exposure than females because if one has talent, it is not difficult to see. The problem that is affecting the female musicians right now is the perception that people already have towards women as weaker than men, which is wrong because there is massive talent among women. Personally, I am strong and I intend to break all the boundaries society has set against women and I will make a difference.
Olivia Charamba “Mai Charamba”
The issue is not about treatment, but what you are producing as a musician.
You need to ask yourself if your product is good enough to listen. We cannot force our music onto listeners, when one’s music is good, opportunities arise despite your sex , whether you are a man or a woman.
I think everyone who has produced something good, whether it’s a man or woman, gospel or secular, Zimdancehall or hip-hop, have had opportunities come their way. In a nutshell, treatment depends on the quality of the product.
Male dominance is there because of their good skills; female musicians should learn to play musical instruments skilfully, not “pachidzimai”. There are no female music producers that I know in Zimbabwe, we as women we have to change our mentality on a lot of issues.
Our young generation has to be trained on these issues.
Respina Patai “Mai Patai”
Equality is very scarce in the music industry. Women are not being accepted in the industry like men. For example if a female musician holds live shows during the night, she is labelled names which demotivates us. This makes the opportunities to be different as well since there is no producer that would want to invest his money into a musician who has limitations already. The female musicians have great capacity to take Zimbabwean music places, but we are generally being stigmatised in the arts business.