In the first of our interviews for International Women’s Day, we chat to Mel Kelly, a contracts manager at Axelos who helped set up the charity Safe Gigs for Women.
Creating a safe environment at gigs
Safe Gigs for Women (SGFW) aims to create safer environments for women at music gigs, by raising awareness and educating people about the issues women face at gigs as well how to stay safe.
What inspired you to start the charity?
This is a passion project which started with an issue that was important to me. As a feminist who goes to so many gigs, I am appalled that there are people who think it is appropriate to treat other gig-goers with such disregard. In the form of abuse, threatening behaviour and sexual harassment.
When I met Tracey, the other founder, we got on like a house on fire and I knew straightaway that I wanted to help. The ideal is that one day we’re not needed anymore.
What is Safe Gigs for Women?
It’s an initiative which I’m on the leadership team and help run, with other regular gig goers, to create a safer environment for women at gigs. We work other gig goers to spread the word that it is not okay to threaten or harass others or attempt to touch anyone inappropriately.
I am passionate about working to prevent sexual harassment and assault of women at gigs and festivals. The work I do for Safe Gigs for Women (SGFW) could be anything from giving out information to gig goers at a festival to being in a panel discussion about women’s safety at an industry conference to working directly with venues.
We work with venues to ensure they take reports of sexual harassment and other threats to women seriously. Ideally, we’d create a standard in the industry for safe venues and get this adopted nationwide.
We also work with the bands to encourage them to recognise our standards, talk about our work and get their audiences recognising and spreading what is acceptable.
How do you spread the word?
We all put a lot of time and effort into the charity – attending festivals and gigs to provide people with information to help them keep safe.
It could be anything from being interviewed for a news programme, to running stalls at festivals, to gathering support from those within the music industry to get the word out to their fans.
AXELOS is a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita, to manage, develop and grow the Global Best Practice portfolio.
Celebrating our women - Looking after our wellbeing
In our second interview for International Women’s Day, we chat to Laura Todd, managing consultant, who leads a Capita Wellness Programme.