Freemuse Launches Report on Violations of Women’s Artistic Expression

Ole Reitov, Freemuse
Ole Reitov, Freemuse

On November 29, 2018, Freemuse launched a first-of-its-kind report that documents, through five years of research, issues related to women’s artistic expression and how it is limited due to interference by government agencies, artistic communities and non-state actors, such as religious groups, social media and private education institutions.

Titled “Creativity Wronged: How women’s right to artistic freedom is denied and marginalized, the report analysis of over 90 cases of violations against women artists and audiences who were, among other violations, censored, threatened, harassed, persecuted, attacked, imprisoned and killed.

In order to get exceptional insights into the situation of women artists around the globe, Freemuse conducted dozens of qualitative interviews with some of the violated artists from countries such as Afghanistan, Iceland, Iran, India, Russia and Vietnam.

Some of the stories covered include Alankrita Shrivastava’s film “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, initially denied release in India for being “lady oriented”. Icelandic artist Borghildur Indriðadóttir had her Facebook friends and photos deleted after she shared a promo of her photo exhibition Demoncrazy featuring topless women, and Afghan playwright and actor Monirah Hashemi received death threats for performing in Afghanistan and shut herself inside her house for three months before relocating to Sweden to continue her career in the arts.

The report also discusses key challenges and opportunities on how to change structural barriers that silence women artists by those in power-politically, religiously or societally. It concludes with over 20 practical recommendations for governments, human rights and non-governmental organisations, and the United Nations, which should be the ground for policy dialogues.

Freemuse and KVINFO launched the report on November 29, 2018 at Danish Parliament, Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, together with Yildiz Akdogan, MP and vice chair of the Gender Equality Committee.

For more information on the project and to download the report, please visit: