Non-profit advocacy organisation Girls I Rate (GIR) today announced a partnership with Strawberries & Creem (S&C), the first festival to sign their GIR 50:50 Pledge – whereby pledging to actively advocate for gender equality and diversity in their programming and staffing. S&C have ensured a gender-balanced line-up this year – curating 2 days of music, with women making up over half of the acts performing.

It’s not just the festival promoters supporting the initiative. Artists performing at S&C have signed the pledge too, including singer/songwriter talent Miraa May, renowned rap tastemaker & radio host Kenny Allstar, and Nigerian-born DJ & producer Cuppy.

GIR has been spearheading equality and opportunities for women within the UK music and creative industries since 2016. Founded by Grammy award-winning songwriter Carla Marie Williams’ (credits: Beyonce, Sean Paul, Britney Spears) charity, GIR, advocates for visible and tangible change – aiming to cultivate activity and increase opportunities; pushing for an equal gender balance in the music and entertainment industries; and creating safe spaces and educational programmes for women. This project will have a particular focus on black girls and women in the UK, the Caribbean, and in Africa.

S&C co-founder Preye Crooks met Carla Marie via his work at Columbia Records, connecting GIR with the S&C team who supported the initiative wholeheartedly. The young festival prides itself on championing diversity and future talent – curating a female-led line-up in 2019, and being a consistently strong platform for black music. GIR’s all-female DJ collective will take over the mainstage at S&C on September 19th.

The GIR 50:50 Pledge demands immediate change in the music and events/festivals spaces, as well as supporting the objectives of Keychange, a movement supported by Creative Europe to champion and support women and gender minorities in the music industry. GIR looks to garner signatures and active support from across the music industry – including festivals, radio stations, artists, and global brands. All signatures acquired by Girls I Rate & Keychange will be collated in 2024 to show tangible progress across the industry.

Carla Marie Williams, GIR Founder & songwriter said: "Every year we see a disproportionate number of men being announced on festival line-ups, and change has been happening very slowly. We are thrilled to have the support of Strawberries & Creem, the first festival to sign our GIR 50:50 Pledge, and show that it is totally possible to make it happen in 2021. We are hopeful that many more festivals will follow and help us achieve our pledge to create the equal opportunities that women deserve in the music industry.”

Preye Crooks, S&C Festival Co-Founder & booker said: “As a growing festival with a close-knit team, it’s paramount to us that we use the platform we have to address issues in our society where we can. Championing gender equality, and supporting the best and brightest talent in the business, are both values we hold close – so alongside GIR, we wanted to take a visible and conscious stand. We’re delighted to have a gender-balanced line-up this year, and we will be working with GIR to do what we can to support gender equality and diversity, and empower women in the music industry.”