The Women–Music–Futures symposium brought together a wide range of presentations based on both artistic and research projects. While the presented projects offered varied insights on women’s musical activities around the world, several common themes emerged. For example, a number of projects emphasized music as a space of comfort, respite, and pleasure for women musicians and their audiences. At the same time music making can provide a sphere where women can build solidarity and networks of mutual support. Sometimes music provides a medium for voicing one’s opinion to the outside world.
– Nina Öhman
It was liberating and empowering to see same issues relating to women musicians repeat in different contexts around the world, and to see that I am not to only one who has paid attention to the minority position of women musicians and wants to change things! Women face similar challenges, although the circumstances may be very different, and it was great to see all the different ways in which people are addressing these issues.
The World Wide Women team presented the project publicly for the first time on November 13th 2021 in the Etnosoi! seminar ”Women, Music and the World.” At the seminar, the team members talked about their own projects and showed related video clips or played music. The presentations centered on female musicians and the crossing of different kinds of boundaries. The seminar gathered about 30 listeners into the Maijansali hall of the Central Library Oodi; their participation demonstrated the interest of the audience towards research on women’s musical life.
As a whole, the team’s presentations emphasized music’s great importance as a means of self-expression for women around the world. For many female musicians and their audiences, music is not just a “decoration” of everyday life, not just entertainment (although it can also be that), but musical activities give them a possibility for expressing a social stance, for encaging in activism and for creating visions of a better future.
Elina Seye and Marjo Smolander from the WWW team were working on their own projects in Dakar, Senegal in the spring of 2021 as they went to meet representatives of local organizations for female musicians.
It is not until recently that female musicians in Senegal have started networking to support each other and strengthen their professional skills in the male-dominated music industry. Most female musicians in Senegal work as backup singers – many do dream of a solo career, but it is hard to find musicians, a producer and other professionals that they would need to promote their solo career.