A Cork musician has erected a sign which says ‘please do not touch my knob (without consent)’ to deter men from adjusting her equipment at gigs.
Áine Duffy said that people, mostly men, consistently come up to her during live performances and try to adjust her public address (PA) system.
“I was playing a gig in west Cork, it was wonderful but a stream of people kept coming up trying to adjust my PA system. I think they were just trying to help but I know what I’m doing, I’ve been doing this for years.
“I want to be gentle and humorous about it. But if I was a man, I would not have to do that.”
She said that sexism and sexual harassment is rife in the music industry. Prior to Covid, she was offered a record deal in LA if she lost weight, or if she accepted a producer as a boyfriend. In Ireland, gig venue owners have told her she could only come back if she kissed them and she's been followed home after gigs.
"This aspect of the music industry has to change," she said. "It's hard for everyone, men and women, but women have to be so much more careful. It can be dangerous."
Ms Duffy has only recently returned to playing live music after she converted an old donkey box into a bright red mobile gig venue.
“I’ve been trying to make it happen and find my way around things,” she said.
"People have been so excited to hear live music again.
“Children react so well when I hit the guitar.
"That’s such an honour for me to be someone’s first gig. Those little things are never lost on me."
But the pandemic has been tough for musicians, she said.
“We’ve been told in a way that we are not valuable. Everyone else is given guidelines.
“The struggle is no joke. There have been a lot of suicides among musicians already.” Ms Duffy called for an increase in radio airtime given to Irish artists - both male and female - to help them pull through Covid.
“In France you hear French music on the radio, and in Australia. Why can’t we do it more here? If they could increase the percentage they’re supposed to play to 40%, even for the month of August, it would give musicians such a lift.
“It would make them feel valuable again, make them feel heard."