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Finding visibility in the world of music

Did you know that Argentina's Women on Stage Quota Act is pioneering legislation worldwide?

In 2018, inspired by the feminist movements and structural gender inequality, a group of women musicians came together to visibilize all women artists on stage and work towards more equitable line-ups. This task called into action songwriters and singers from different generations across all music genres.

Thanks to their advocacy, the Women on Stage Quota Act passed into law in late 2019. It dictates that at least 30% of all music festival line-ups are to be women artists. This is ground-breaking legislation worldwide.

As explained by Agencia Télam, this initiative is supported by the Law on the Comprehensive Protection of Women to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women in all spaces related to their personal relationships (Law No. 26,485) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (incorporated into Argentine legislation through Law No. 23,176). Although in other countries there are initiatives driven by non-profit organizations, there are no precedents for this kind of legislation on a governmental level.

Burst onto the scene: Mavi Díaz, an early exponent on the rock scene

María Victoria Díaz is an Argentine rock and folk singer, musician and songwriter. She became popular as the leading voice in the all-women rock band Viudas e Hijas de Roque Enroll in the early 1980s. In 2020, she took on the position of Director of the National Folk Music Radio Station.

She also works in a music project titled "Mavi Díaz & Las Folkies" in which she writes and plays folk music together with Silvana Albano (piano, backing vocals and musical direction), Pampi Torre (guitar and backing vocals) and Martina Ulrich (percussion and backing vocals). Their songs touch on topics like women's empowerment ("Gaucha") and sexist violence ("No me mates") but they also joke around with some irony ("Gato'|Miau"). In an interview with ArteZeta, the artist expressed: "There's a strong mutual understanding among all of us, which also happened in Viudas. Our happiness reaches the public."

During that interview, she recalled from her first band's beginnings: "We were so unprotected, we had no one to watch our backs. Record labels were never held accountable for anything." She also added: "We were forgotten, ignored. I know this and it's so unfair, because we were part of the history of rock." In this line, Mavi Díaz strongly advocated for the Women on Stage Quota Act, enacted in 2019.

Finding visibility in the world of music

The Gardel Awards are the most important music awards given in Argentina. This event has been celebrated since 1999. The main trophy is called "Gardel de Oro" and only two women have ever won it: Mercedes Sosa in 2000 and Marilina Bertoldi in 2019.

During the 2019 ceremony, Bertoldi proudly exclaimed "Today, the winner is a lesbian" while raising her award. She won it thanks to her album "Prender un fuego." Her win also marked a milestone because, in the words of the artist from Santa Fe, it celebrated underground, federal music.

According to Escritura Feminista, the singer started her music career uploading her pieces to Youtube. Later on, she decided to form her first band: Connor Questa. Her solo career did not begin until many years later, as she used to consider it impossible: "I didn't quite understand that I could be a solo rock artist because I hadn't seen it before, it wasn't possible."

The lack of women in the Argentine rock scene is not new. According to a research by Auska Ovando (Chile) that analyzes the most important Latin American music festivals, out of 1,605 bands playing in those festivals, barely 160 have at least one woman as a member.

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