Mentorship Into Leadership - an analysis to serve aspiring women in music Image By Getty Images/Designed by Jenny Regan Billie Eilish, Barbra Streisand, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Aretha Franklin

Why is it that we can identify males in leaderships roles such as, Barak Obama, Bill Gates, or more specific to music - Richard Branson, Scooter Braun or David Geffen? Why is it that names such as Alison Kaye, Jodi Gerson or Desiree Perez are not ever heard of, yet the names Lady Gaga, Beyonce or Jessie Reyez are?

There is a discrepancy in identifying the leadership roles that women in the music industry and female-identifying artists. This study looks to address that, to elevate women in the business side and to showcase the potential they hold. It tried to answer how to successfully direct the music business into making it more accessible to keen and passionate women looking to pursue leadership in music as a career and not only as musicians and artists.

The Problem is...

In the rise of the entertainment industry’s pursuit of gender parity, we still lack the resources available to the racial parity between women. The Canadian music industry is a landscape that holds a very specific and small ecosystem of people. Since the introduction of Women In Music Canada by Founder, Samantha Slattery, there has been a slow increasing rise of women taking their place. However research by Women in Music Canada and Nordicity, women of colour and across different intersections account for less than 2% of the Ontario music industry. How can we support and leverage women facing different intersections who seek to pursue a career in the Canadian music scene, and to encourage asian women in general to break through their cultural barriers and expectations and press for a career they are more passionate about?

(Photo from Gender Parity Week (@genderweek Twitter)

Method of Research

The plan to execute this study involves reaching out to fellow peers and those who may not know too much about the music industry to fill out my surveys via Google Surveys. This will provide phenomenological insight on where the presence of women of colour in leadership lacks in those specific professions. With this information, I hope to approach to the backstories and and to critically analyze the meaning behind each participant's answer within the survey. Ultimately seeking to prove that there is a discrepancy between women within the music industry - whether female musicians and artists are more prominent on the minds of people and not women who work in the business side. Using this method will assist those pursuing music in any capacity to gain an understanding of how to navigate their way to their desired careers in music without limitations and with the support of mentorships that seek to elevate them.

Research Survey Questions

Question 1: How old are you?

100% of participants stated that they are between the ages of 18-24 years of age

Question 2: What gender do you identify with?

71% of participants identify as Female and 28.6% identify as Male

Question 3: How much do you know about the Canadian music industry?

42.9% of participants claim to know people within the Canadian music industry, but still do not know what they do

14.3% of participants know very little about the Canadian music industry

42.9% of participants know a little bit about the Canadian music industry

Question 4: Do you ever read music industry magazines such as Billboard, Rolling Stones, or Pollstar?

78.6% of participants have read these publications once of twice before

14.3% of participants have read these publications for specific reasons

7.1% of participants do not know what these publications are

Question 5: Have you ever seen women highlighted on these publications?

50% of participants have seen women highlighted in the above music publications

50% of participants have not seen women highlighted in the above music publications

Question 6: Have you ever heard of the initiative called Women In Music before?

78.6% of participants claim that they have never heard of the initiative 'Women in Music'

21.4% of participants claim that they have heard of the initiative 'Women in Music'

Question 7: Did you know that Canada has its own chapter of Women in Music here in Toronto?

85.7% of participants are unaware that there is a Women in Music chapter here in Toronto

14.3% of participants are aware that there is a Women in Music chapter here in Toronto

Question 8: Do you know of any other female-focused mentorship programs available? If so, name some below. If not, say "no"

85.7% of participants claim not to know of any other female-focused mentorship programs.

7.1% of participants listed Women in Capital Markets (WCM)

7.1% of participants listed WIFT (Women in Film & Television)

Question 9: When you think of Women in Music what do you initially think of?

71.4% of participants associate women in music as artists and musicians

28.6% of participants associate women in music as being in many roles within the field

Question 10: Would you say that you see more female artists instead of women in business?

78.6% of participants state that they are exposed to more female artists over females in the business side of the industry

21.4% 78.6% of participants state that they are exposed to more females in the business side of the industry as opposed to female artists

Question 11: Why do you that is? (some responses listed below)

"Patriarchy and sexism"

"Less barriers of entry in the music world"

"It is a male-dominated industry"

"Money-making reasons"

"In creative industries you're allowed to bring yourself to your art, be emotional and vulnerable whilst also carrying an entrepreneurial spirit"


"I feel like the business/technical side of the industry is very male dominated"

"I still think that men dominate the music industry in terms of producers, lyric writers, artists, etc. I can name more men from each of those categories than women. I think that there are still gatekeepers in this industry that make it more difficult for women to get the recognition they deserve"

"I think the music industry and business side is rooted in patriarchal values and such"

Question 12: Could you imagine women being in a higher role such as a manager, producer, creative director, talent scout, agent, etc?

100% of participants can imagine women in a higher role in the music insustry

Question 13: When you think of leadership roles, what race of women seem to hold those positions more?

85% of participants claim that white women are more likely to take on leadership roles over women of colour

14.3% of participants claim that women identifying of other races take on leadership roles

Question 14: Do you think that sexual orientation matters when women are put into leadership roles?

38.5% of participants state that sexual orientation matters when women are put into leadership roles

30.8% of participants state that sexual orientation does not matter when women are put into leadership roles

30.8% of participants state that sexual orientation somewhat matters when women are put into leadership roles

Question 15: Name a woman in music off the top of your head (some responses listed below)

"Only know female music artists. No producers or managers"

"Beyoncé", "Taylor Swift", "Celine Dion", "Jessie Reyez", "Lady Gaga", "Jorja Smith", "Brittney Spears", "Alicia Keys", "Julia Michaels", "Rihanna"


The kind of analysis I plan to conduct will be thorough, but will leave room for further critical analysis and application. I plan to break down each survey answer to fill in those gaps that women seek to fill in a male-dominated industry. The purpose of the survey is to approach the topic with a general, yet critical mindset. It serves to unlock the door to more diverse subtopics within, and to create a discussion among audiences. According to the survey I conducted, the general public believes that many female-identifying artists and musicians are who make up the music industry. This eludes to the belief that women are meant to be on the stage and not behind the scenes contributing to the logistics in producing the success of other artists.

The data shows that many are not aware of women in the music business field - they are more focused on or know more about female artists. This is an opportunity for leaders within the industry to be spoken about as they have contributed to a large number of success in the industry too. This lack of awareness can be a result of a number of things, lack of representation in media of women in the business side, a lack of awareness in the hiring process of these leadership roles, and a lack of targeted sponsorship and mentorship programs for women looking to penetrate the glass ceiling. Though there are issues, there are many companies within he industry that have made equality and diversity a priority and they are thriving because of it. If we were to trace it back, these companies with women in leadership provided a community and opened up their mindsets to allow them to feel empowered. This leads us to feed into the importance of mentorship and the open-minded approach and community it creates in order for everyone to benefit.

According to the data, it appears that mentorship is a crucial resource that women need to feel empowered to tackle this discrepancy in the first place. They need a place and community that incubates, develops and helps grow an individual's relationships in order to gain the confidence in themselves. More importantly, it is vital to open up the conversation to women who face intersections and societal limitations that inhibit them from believing in their own potential. In the survey, participants suggested that 85.7% of white women were in more leadership roles. This eluded to the idea that women of colour have not been as represented, nurtured and developed for these roles. Not only women of colour, but women facing intersections such as sexual orientation, or physical abilities. This lack of representation further proves the need for mentorship programs to be available for women of colour, women of varying abilities and sexual preferences who may not have the same resources, privilege, and communities to empower them.

Research Poster

Mentorship options for women in Canada looking to pursue music...


"We seek to empower determined, young women with a multilevel platform that provides the necessary framework towards professional success, inspiration and growth"

GIRL CONNECTED is membership based initiative that just started its first chapter in Toronto in February 2020. They focus on mentoring 20 women in the Toronto area for one year with one-on-one mentorship opportunities with industry-giants in their stream of interest. These main focuses span across Music Business and Administration, Event Production, and A&R.

Honey Jam

"...recognizing the need to do something about the lack of exposure and promotion given to local female performers…"

Honey Jam is an all female multicultural multi-genre artist showcase and initiative that provides education, mentorship and showcase opportunities for local female artist. They also promote charities for women and focus on providing real-life experience to women who are passionate about music.

Rise Tribe

Rise Tribe is an initiative set out to re-define, re-shape and re-imagine Filipino-Canadians through mentorship, education and leadership. They hold events and mentorship programs to Filipino-Canadians across every age and across every industry. They focus on empowering future generations of Filipino-Canadians and seek to shape and celebrate Filipino interests in hopes of building on the success of the next generation. More specific to women in music, I have found this initiative to encourage and connect me with the right mentors within the music industry and in surrounding areas in-which music can meet other vital industries. In a study done by Nordicity, Filipino women made up less than 1% of Ontario's music industry. This initiative helps to support all Filipinos in every way possible, especially in connecting those with the appropriate mentors in their desired field while keeping them grounded in their culture.

Researcher Bio

I'm Jemimah Galvez, a Professional Communication student with a passion for the arts and people. I currently work within the Canadian music industry in artist and project management with The Post Office Inc. in Liberty Village. I've spent a lot of my university career immersed in the Toronto music scene, interning for Women in Music Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and working with Live Nation Canada. Equality and leveraging diversity are main focuses of mine. I hope to facilitate opportunities for marginalized groups, and to ultimately help others feel empowered to shatter boundaries that limit their full potential. This study is only a small part of my interests - there are so many aspects to this topic that I would be happy to discuss and grow my own knowledge about. I believe that mentorship is a large part of opening doors for other female-identifying professionals. Though more research must be done, I hope that is study is able to unlock the door to addressing issues and intersections that women face in the industry and on a daily basis. More importantly, I hope that it encourages you to ask questions and to create discussions.