Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Officer Columns » Executive Board Members » International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

  -  International Executive Board Member and President of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL)

The oppression and inequality of women became an important topic during the age of industrialization in the early 1900s. Women were becoming more active in voicing their opinion for the need for change. In 1908, they organized a march of 15,000 women in New York demanding shorter hours at work, better pay, and voting rights. By 1911, there was participation in the movement in 17 countries, leading to the establishment of International Women’s Day every March 8. Rallies grew to one million participants lobbying for equality in jobs and the end of discrimination.

During World War I, Russian women struck until they obtained the right to vote. The United Nations first recognized International Women’s Day in 1975, and since then, there have been annual conferences across most countries. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the women’s movement, then-President Barack Obama declared March to be Women’s History Month.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. Today, “equal opportunities” are no longer enough; equity means creating an inclusive world.

Quite a bit of progress has been made in support for changes to society’s thoughts on equity and equality of the sexes. However, it’s not enough to be treated equally, but to also have the ability to equally succeed. The Vienna Philharmonic hired their first woman in 1997, and The Berlin Philharmonic recently hired Vineta Sareika-Völkner as Concertmaster—the first woman to hold the position in the esteemed orchestra. In 2007, Marin Alsop became the first woman to lead a major American orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Although women have been active as conductors, soloists, and composers for centuries, more and more women are being recognized as prominent voices in our business.

Change is not only necessary in equality of gender, but also of equity for all races. A perfect example of change in our industry is the audition process. Once behind a screen with carpets muting the sound of footsteps, we now see screens being removed allowing for diversity and inclusion.

All musicians should feel welcome and have the ability to work together and reach their full potential regardless of who they are, their ethnicity, or their beliefs. We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion.

The International Alliance for Women in Music was formed to encourage musical activities without gender discrimination, especially in areas without high concentrations of women, such as sound engineering, music promotion, and musicology.

International Women’s Day celebrates and promotes the achievements of women. It is commemorated in a variety of ways worldwide—it is a public holiday in several countries and is observed socially or locally in others. For more information and to get involved, go to

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