Why Hire Women and Non-Binary People
Artist Spotlight
Madame Gandhi is an electronic music producer, drummer, artist and activist. Her music career includes being a touring drummer for artists M.I.A., Thievery Corporation, and Kehlani. Gandhi's music and activism focuses on female empowerment and Fourth-wave feminism. In 2015, she ran the London Marathon bleeding-freely on her period as a symbolic act to combat global menstrual stigma. She has performed at music festivals such as Pitchfork, Lightning in a Bottle, Roskilde and SXSW.

Why is it important, to you and to the world, to hire female and non-binary crew members?

Because you have a different working experience. Music is a product of self expression, and when you collaborate with different people, from different walks of life, the art that gets produced as a result is art that the world has never heard before by the very nature of how unique the collaboration is. If you have homogeneity in any industry, then the products that get made are homogenous, so that’s the reason for the innovation.

As a female artist myself, I prefer to only work with female/non-binary/trans folks as sound engineers on the technical side of things because I feel more comfortable. I don’t feel like there might be some sort of alternative agenda, sexually, that oftentimes women experience when they go into the studio with cisgender men.

I also think there’s a type of patience and nurturing and care that femmes tend to have that I thrive in, unlike many men who tend to work slightly more aggressively, in my experience. For that same reason I also do feel comfortable working with men who do have a softer energy in the studio and are patient and know how to flow, and know how to take a break, and know how to get the best out of me without pushing me. So those are some of the reasons.

How does your experience differ around the world? Do you find more or less women/non-binary crew in one place or another?

I tend to find that women are often the organizers and the leaders or the face of an event, and then men tend to be at the sound board or setting up the gear. And I obviously love that women are the ones that are organizing the events, or are the artist liason or the manager for the stage and that kind of thing, because I do feel like female leadership for those kinds of events makes a lot of sense, but then sometimes you obviously face sexism that the men don’t expect you to know what you’re doing and that’s just like an energy drain right before you perform. And so I guess the way I’ll answer that question is that there’s a business incentive for venues to provide all around the world, wherever you go, a variety and a plethora of different types of people working the sound, so that the artist feels comfortable, or to educate their engineering team and their technical team on inherent/unconscious biases that may exist so that they don’t do those things and isolate the artist that comes through their venue.

What would you say to other women and non-binary artists about hiring women & non-binary crew?

I think it’s important to realize that it’s a privilege for something to not matter to you, to not directly affect you. Just because something doesn’t impact your immediate day to day life doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be part of greater change. Even for me sometimes, I have to remember, certain laws in the election don’t necessarily affect me because of, maybe, where I live, or the industry I’m in, and so then it’s a privilege to not have to vote. But actually, somebody on the street could really use me putting in the right vote, and that’s how you build community, that’s how you make sure that everyone is thriving, not just yourself. And I think when one person is suffering, we’re all suffering, you know, your pain is my pain. 

It’s important to look at a community as a whole, from the most vulnerable to the most privileged. So I think I would think about it that way. You may not be exposed to something, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a problem, or that it’s not a real issue, or that it may not indirectly affect you.

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