Feminista Vinyl is a not-for-profit organisation described as a “record shop unlike any other” by its founders. The volunteer-led enterprise aims to achieve gender equity in music by selling LPs and memorabilia in their Coburg shopfront and hosting local musical events – all featuring female and gender diverse musicians.
One of the organisation’s founders, Clare, explains their motivation:
“We noticed a real problem with gender equity in the local music industry. There is often only an 80/20 ratio of male to female or gender diverse musicians featured at music festivals and events. Music stores are also very male-dominated in both the music they sell and, in their staffing – this can be very intimidating for women and non-binary customers.”
The co-founders of Feminista Vinyl volunteer their time, re-investing the proceeds of LP and ticket sales to create more opportunities for female and gender-diverse musicians in Melbourne. More recently they have been able to recruit additional volunteers to support their work and achieve their vision. These volunteer opportunities enable community members to be involved with fostering an inclusive creative community, connecting with others, and doing something that they love:
“We all have day jobs, but this is our passion and we’re happy to give our time to it.”
The community is also getting behind the organisation:
“Most people are very supportive of our work. You get the occasional person asking why we do not stock male artists, but most people get it. We have recently had a man come on board to volunteer and we really value that solidarity and commitment to what we are trying to achieve.” says Trish, another of the co-founders.
The team at Feminista Vinyl hope to continue growing the organisation to provide more opportunities for both volunteers and female or gender diverse musicians in Melbourne. However, they also face challenges including limited funding opportunities and onerous and costly bureaucratic processes such as accessing volunteer insurance. This takes their focus and time away from the day-to-day planning and operations of the organisation.
Volunteer work has always led the push to creating more inclusive and diverse communities, and volunteers need safe and supportive workplaces – just like the paid workforce. We had to really look hard to find an insurance option we could actually afford. Volunteer-based organisations should not be priced out of creating a safe workplace or forced to operate without those staff protections”.
Increased government support and planning is required to address the complex issues faced by grassroots community groups who are addressing social inequality and community need.
Interested in finding out more? See their website at feministavinyl.org.au