A “man-free” music festival held exclusively for women has been found in violation of discrimination laws.
The Swedish event, Statement Festival, held in Gothenburg back in August prided itself on being “the world’s first major music festival for women, transgender, and non-binary people only.” However, Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman has deemed the very description “man-free” as an “infringement of discrimination law.”
When Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare initiated Statement Festival, her intentions were in the right place. The entire concept behind the music festival was to provide a safe space for women, following multiple reports of sexual misconduct at various music events. But, dubbing the event as “man-free” was apparently going too far.
“It is important to point out what an infringement is. These are the statements made before the festival, what they wrote on their website,” Discrimination Ombudsman’s press officer, Clas Lundstedt, remarked. “Still, we haven’t been able to prove that someone would have been discriminated against in connection with the implementation or that someone would have been rejected.”
“Clearly, we believe that sexual abuse, especially at festivals, is a serious problem. So we are looking forward to trying to correct this,” Lundstedt continued. “However, it shouldn’t happen in a way that violates the law, which their statements in the media and their website do.”