This is where we highlight music industry projects promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in the independent music sector. Check out the other great initiatives making change in the music industry – click here to learn more and get inspired and courage to take action yourself.  

Changemaker Award

As part of our commitment to fostering positive change, we proudly present the Changemaker Award, an initiative launched in 2022 to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals and organisations to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the independent music sector. This award is part of the impactful work initiated by IMPALA’s equity, diversity, and inclusion task force, find out more here

Winner 2024 – Black & Irish

Black & Irish is the winner of the IMPALA Changemaker Award 2024! The award recognises Black & Irish’s commitment to advocating for the black community in Ireland, fostering connections within Irish society and championing an anti-racist ethos. Black & Irish was founded in 2020 by Leon Diop, Femi Bakole and Pierre Yimbog and works to promote equity and inclusion for Black and mixed-raced people across the country. Black & Irish aims to improve the lives of Black and Irish people by working with strategic partners in the areas of advocacy, community engagement and education. 

Read the statement here and find out more about Black & Irish here.

Changemaker award winners from previous years

Winner 2023 – Women in CTRL

The second recipient of IMPALA’s Changemaker award, is the UK not-for-profit organisation Women in CTRL, for their work developing and supporting music creators and music professionals from under-represented groups. Women in CTRL was founded by Nadia Khan and has been very active on its mission to advance gender equality in the music industry. The not-for-profit organisation was set up to empower and inspire women in the entertainment, creative and business sectors of the music industry and encourages women and non-binary persons to find their strengths, develop their own personal brand and build the tools and confidence to become leaders. 

Read the statement here and find out more about Women in CTRL here.

Winner 2022 – POWER UP

The first recipient of this award is the POWER UP which addresses anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector, and supports Black music creators and industry professionals and executives. Co-founded by PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter and managed by PRS Foundation in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group, Spotify and the Black Music Coalition, the initiative was launched in January 2021 and has already powered up award-winning talent and those who are dominating playlists and line-ups and are taking up senior roles and Board positions across the industry.

Read the Changemaker Award statement here and find out more about POWER UP here.

Changemaker Award nominees 2024

Desenchufadas is a dynamic platform for cultural entrepreneurs, offering resources, tools, and a vibrant community. Their magazine features interviews with women in the industry and insights on cultural entrepreneurship. EVENchufadas connects creators with events, while the Entrepreneurship Point offers personalised advice. They also provide professional training and support for women entrepreneurs.

MEWEM France encourages women and gender minorities in the music industry to become entrepreneurs and assert their leadership. Founded in 2018 by FÉLIN, this pioneering programme is a response to the challenges of diversity in the music industry, particularly in positions of responsibility, but also to the problems of job insecurity, by helping to ensure the long-term survival of structures. Among the projects emerging from the network are: La P3;  La Chatte en feu; WomenBeats; D·I·V·A· or Cherchez la Femme

MEWEM Germany  is a nationwide mentoring program for young female, trans, and non-binary individuals in the music industry. It aims to increase their long-term presence and visibility, including in management and founder roles. MEWEM pairs ten experienced industry experts with ten young professionals for ongoing support in their professional and personal growth. More information here


Taskforce Go! is a Dutch-based project uniting music industry stakeholders to combat inappropriate behavior, promote diversity and inclusion, and ensure a safe and inclusive environment through campaigns, support services, and workshops. In January 2024, they launched the campaign ‘set the tone’ in which they mainly call on bystanders to speak out when someone crosses a line of appropriate behaviour, in the hope of raising awareness and achieving a change in behaviour.

PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MUSIC was founded in 2022 by leadership representatives from a group of companies and organisations from the Danish music scene, coming together to strengthen industry collaboration and network at the leadership level. Their vision is that through collaboration, they can develop and catalyse data-based solutions to the sector-wide challenges that impede a more sustainable music scene.

Be the Change is a global movement and a report run by Believe/TuneCore that uncovers the causes of gender inequality in the music industry and offers practical solutions to combat it. Over 1088 people have pledged to BE THE CHANGE.

Come Play With Me is a UK-based non-profit supporting marginalised communities in music. They promote diversity and inclusion through events, a label, mentoring, podcasts, a magazine, and workshops. Awarded the 2022 Music Week Diversity In The Workplace award, they also published the first LGBTQ+ Musicians Insights report and 12 recommendations to make the music industry more inclusive for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Fédérap, is France’s first association of rap professionals. Despite rap’s popularity and influence, its professionals are often overlooked in cultural policy. Fédérap bridges this gap, representing rap labels, media, publishers, festivals, managers and artists and advocating for diversity and better representation in the music industry. It provides its members with tools, funding and workshops for long-term growth. Check out their website here in Switzerland promotes inclusion in the cultural sector through the “Culture inclusive” label, awarded to institutions that foster participation of people with disabilities.The center advises label partners, networks inclusive players, and connects them with social sector specialists. It operates in three languages and provides information in easy-to-read and sign language.

K7 x Ernst Reuter Schule community project – Wanting to create stronger bonds with their local community, !K7 worked with a Berlin school to help students create their own music and learn about the music industry.

Read more about it here and discover the two tracks the students created here.


MIM – (Mujeres de la Industria de la Música) was founded to ensure gender equality in the music industry and to address the gender inequalities highlighted by female professionals across Spain. It advocates for equal treatment, salaries, opportunities and possibilities for all music professionals and strives for gender parity in the industry.

Minding Creative Minds is a free wellbeing and support service for those working in the Creative Industries in Ireland. Their mission is to provide local artists with the tools they need to fully embrace their talents and ambitions.

Safe to Create is an Irish collaborative programme of supports looking to transform workplace culture and practices, and to provide safe and respectful working conditions for those working in the arts and creative sectors. 

SISTERS OF MUSIC is an Austrian organisation, founded in 2019, and their network has been growing ever since.  Recognising that women* are still a minority, especially in technical professions and management positions, they decided to open a network “by and for women* in the live music industry.” They organise workshops, networking events and mentoring sessions and more.

Tuatara provides consulting services which support artists & organisations to get funding, boost collaborations and develop their network. Tuatara supports actively diversity and inclusion in the cultural sector, dedicated to promoting alternative and underground culture while supporting efforts to combat discrimination. They advocate for a more inclusive cultural world where creators and audiences of all backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged. 

We’ve only just begun is a Festival & Directory promoting female and non-binary musicians, professionals, bands & DJs in Ireland.

More great Changemaker projects 

The label 365XX Records – one of the first fe*male hip hop labels in Europe, with the project blog 365 Fe*male MC (publication of portraits about fe*male rappers from all over the world every day to create more visibility.)

Bandshe is a data base dedicated for all womxn working in live music. “Music has no gender. So does talent.” This association provides support for women in their professional development, respect for parity and fairer working conditions in order to fight against sexist discrimination in this sector.

Black Artist Database
An international database highlighting Black artists, labels and creatives. This crowd-sourced database provides an easy way to search, filter and directly support the creative output of Black artists globally, via their online profiles. 

Black Lives in Music is an organisation advocating for equality in the music industry. Last year they released the report “Being Black in the UK Music Industry.” 

Black Music Summit was an annual event celebrating the rich cultural heritage of music of black origin and its contributions to the music industry.  The summit was bringing together industry professionals, music lovers, keynote speakers, live performers – all designed to bridge the gap and tackle the issues with racism and diversity in the industry whilst celebrating and platforming black talent

Connect’Her is a platform accessible free of charge for everyone. The aim is to promote connections, mutual help and artistic synergies within the French female electronic music scene. You can look for female artists, collectives and there is a media section dedicated to female artists and DJs news.

The F-List is the Directory of UK Female+ Musicians, empowering female and gender-expansive people to start and sustain music careers. It offers musicians, groups and music companies in the UK a simple way to connect with profile and professional opportunities. This is an absolutely free service as they are supported by private donations and charitable funds. You can add your entry as well – find more info and submit your profile here.

Check out this podcast episode on F-List, featuring Vick Bain and Brix Smith.

Future Female Sounds is a non-profit organisation, community and booking agency focused exclusively on women & gender minority DJs, founded in 2017 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark. They’re on a mission “to make DJ culture accessible to girls globally!” They run local and global DJ Programmes where they arrange DJ workshops, master classes, and network meetings for womxn and gender minorities.

GIRLS I RATE (GIR) was founded to create a platform and voice for women in particular songwriters and producers to collaborate, celebrate and empower each other. It was formed to bring together the talent, influencers, advocates and passion we all share.

HelvetiaRockt is the Swiss coordination office and networking platform for female and non-binary musicians in jazz, pop and rock. Festival line-ups have become more equal, they set up an online music directory for FINTA persons in the music business, they designed the Diversity Roadmap, they do networking events, workshops for young FINTA musicians, and more.

Keychange is a global network and movement working towards gender equality in the music industry. Keychange consists of partners collaborating from 12 different countries, working proactively to make change. Sign the pledge, apply to their programme and join them in their campaign for parity – you’ll find more info here.

MaLisa Foundation is a foundation financing research on gender equality in the entertainment sector, with one focus on the music industry.

MEWEM Europe is a project to implement and manage mentoring programmes for women in the music industry on a European scale. The project’s goal is that in the future, more women will also shape the music industry in leadership positions and as founders. Therefore, the project promotes access to management positions and entrepreneurship as well as the development of management skills among young women in the music industry. In addition to France and Germany, programmes are held in Belgium, Austria, Romania and Spain. 

Check out our podcasts with MEWEM coordinators and mentees here and here.

Moving the needle is a network of educators, communicators and mentors to women in the industry. They help support women in the UK music industry through their entire career: they want to let students know about the multitude of roles available in the music industry – and that they don’t have to hold a mic to join us. More here.

Music Leaders Network is a programme that delivers life-changing leadership for mid-career women and non-binary people in the music industry. It supports people to achieve their full potential. Based in the UK, the programme is run by Remi Harris MBE and Tamara Gal-On, who were featured on IMPALA’s 20minuteswith Podcast. For more information, connect with Music Leaders Network on LinkedIn.

Music Women Austria was founded in 2016 as a platform of female musicians, connecting musicians and highlighting existing shortcomings in the music scene. It’s a platform facilitating the sharing of experiences through small roundtables and via social media and a network of support and exchange of information for female musicians. 

Music Women* Germany is the Network for all music women*, female-identifying and non-binary individuals in the German music industry. The Music Women* Germany initiative was launched at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg for an audience of 400 people and including the release of the first nationwide database for female* experts and artists. Each regional Music Women* network is supported by a local partner entity. Information on the structure of the local Music Women* networks can be found here.

MYM  is a platform which gives visibility to women as creators in music. Users can share suggestions for new additions to complete the database. Discover the list of artists and the search tool with filters to find what you are looking for. The tags mark musical genre, country, period, instrument… and can help you discover great artists.

Open Music Lab – an organisation giving free music workshops to underrepresented communities in Berlin.

Parenthood In Music is an initiative to improve working conditions for parents in the music industry. Parenthood remains one of the main drivers of inequality in the workplace, often resulting in mothers and single parents not holding managerial positions or changing industries. is a global community of women, gender minorities and allies in the music industry. The community spreads over all sectors of the music industry. Its mission is “to connect and empower underrepresented communities towards a more equitable music industry for all, one woman or gender minority at a time.”

SLÄS is a group of female music executives who provide a series of engaging writing camps entitled “Her Songs For Him” to create opportunities for non-male creators. 

Sisterhood Collection presented by Flore -“If you want to discover/book talented women, this is the place to go.” POLAAR’s label manager, DJ and producer Flore launched Sisterhood Collection, a monthly playlist to highlight female electronic music producers, available on all platforms.

Small Green Shoots is a youth-led charity offering an alternative to the conventional system for education, training and entry into the jobs market. We help young people facing difficult life circumstances gain access to the entertainment and creative industries through paid classroom learning, vocational training, internships and access to creative grants. This allows our young workers (the “Shoots”) to build a career, rather than just seek a job.

The Cat’s Mother is a network of women in the Music and Creative Industries offering voluntary consultancy for young aspiring creatives, aged 18-25. This network was founded by Niki Evangelou and Natalie Wade in 2019 after working together at a youth-led music charity for 6 years and realised “the difference in the way the boys’ careers developed compared to the way the girls’ seemed to.” 

Themis Vertrauensstelle is an independent and inter-company counselling centre against sexual harassment and violence in the cultural and media industry. We offer legal and psychological counselling to victims, witnesses and employers.

This is Upfront is a network of and for women, non-binary and trans music producers. Their mission is to create and facilitate a network that generates unique opportunities for both producers and music industry. They organise songwriting camps, listening sessions, workshops and showcases.

Changemaker podcasts & reports

We Are the Unheard was a podcast series providing a platform for everybody who has ever felt unheard. Eve Horne was bringing unapologetic, open-hearted, honest conversations and stories with the aim of bringing a  change of perspectives. Listen here.

Why Not Her podcast (in English) – Why Not Her? Podcast series hosted by Linda Coogan Byrne about amplifying the voices of womxn across the entertainment, arts, creative, political and activism world.

Pep talk (in German) – My Ugly Clementine – Sophie, Mira, Kathrin and Nastasja – alternately invited guests from the music world to chat with them about backgrounds, sources of inspiration, work processes, tricks or their path and the hurdles they have overcome.

Gender and power relations in culture – by Yohann Floch, Marie Le Sourd, Marta Keil, Asa Richardsdottir, Carolyn Auclair.

A seat at the table – by Womxn in CTRL (July 2021)

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

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