By Alex Payne

Veteran tastemaker Annie Mac, known primarily for her immensely successful BBC Radio 1 shows, has announced that she will become the figurehead of the Equalising Music Pledge.

The pledge, which is endorsed by industry watchdog Keychange and Coda Agency, is the latest effort from Smirnoff Equalising Music, a three-year project launched in 2017 to tackle gender imbalances in the music industry. With men currently enjoying large disparities in pay, production credits, festival lineup representation and industry representation, Smirnoff are aiming to reduce the difference from over 70% to an equal 50%.

As the most awarded Vodka brand and a member of the wider Diageo family,  which also owns brands including Captain Morgans, Guinness, Ciroc and Baileys, it’s encouraging to see Smirnoff taking such an aggressive approach to combating the systemic sexism that has plagued the music industry for so long.

It is particularly reassuring to see the movement utilize Annie Mac. In 2017 the BBC announced that their four highest earning male stars collectively earnt at least a cool £5,500,000, while the top four female employees only made £1,749,996 between themselves; an unacceptable imbalance for a publically funded company. Awareness for inequalities within the entertainment industries is fast becoming a zeitgeist for the past couple of years, thanks to the MeToo movement that focused on uncovering abusive practices. Even in the past week, renowned singer/songwriter Ryan Adams was exposed for his sexual misconducts and predatory practices, which proves that although we’ve made a lot of progress, the largest issues still remain.

Smirnoff Equalizing Music has already made massive steps towards remedying the gender issues that threaten the foundations of the music industry, and it’ll be intriguing to see what Annie Mac can bring to the table.