How can we support women in their role for transmission of cultural heritage?


If music is not performed it is not perceived to exist.

A musical work, irrespective of its length, maturity and completeness, is the result of years of study, intellectual reflection, musical apprenticeship and inspiration; the result of a process necessitating time, labour and judgment.


Ongoing research confirms that today, across Europe and the Americas, nearly 40% of all living composers and creators of music are female, so why are so few receiving performances of their works by publicly funded institutions?  Even some European Culture Ministries have confirmed that less than 2% of contemporary programme content (in all music fields) is for works by women.  Music performances depend upon a complicated system of funding, patronage, and power play. See what orchestras, theatres, radio and festivals are programming or listen to music through digital dissemination and ask yourself “where are the women?”

All forms of creativity depend on multiple factors: age, ethnicity, religion, education, geographical area where the artist is born, traditional aesthetic canons and external influences such as popular culture and economic conditions. Despite having more limited access to musical education, fewer opportunities for publication and performance, women have created, performed and transmitted their own music since the Sumerian civilisation. However, today, 2018, women artists in many communities are prohibited from participating in music activities or performing with men….

Women represent 55% of the world’s population but still lack equal opportunities and are disadvantaged by ignorance of their contribution to society, history and creativity. Awareness of change for women has not translated into corresponding levels of influence in public life, or acknowledgement that their cultural participation in the mainstream is severely constrained.  Obstacles to gender equality in the cultural sector are deep rooted and require specific steps to reduce inequalities, taking account of the leverage effect which this will have on society as a whole. Future global prosperity depends on how female resources, knowledge and talent are brought into play and the mainstream.


Women’s music is an essential part of world heritage.

The fundamental role of women in the creation and transmission of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the creation and practice of music belongs not only to a people or a culture, but to all of humanity.

Gender inequality in the field of music is a worldwide challenge.

Sustaining the women creating music will influence public opinion and stimulate their full participation in cultural life.



The UN Human Rights Office celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10th December 1948) and has launched a worldwide campaign to promote, engage and reflect on human rights.   The Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica has been invited by the UN’s Human Rights Office to create a special event for women composers and creators of music of all ages, nationalities and musical backgrounds. The “Global Call for New Music invites participants to compose/create a song, choral or instrumental work inspired by the struggle for Human Rights. Ten works, chosen by an international Reading Commission and publicly announced at the end of July, will be performed and recorded in a Gala Concert in the Teatro Argentina, Rome, Italy on the 5th November this year. 

Art and human rights are universal languages and the UN Human Rights Office is pleased to count on the support of the Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica in the 70th anniversary campaign for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is an occasion in which to reaffirm that the rights of women and girls are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. We look forward to.” (the Laurent Sauveur, Chief of External Relations of the UN Human Rights Office).


What Can you do to Help?

a.     Circulate the “Call for New Music” to everyone you know in the field of music

b.    Ask music teachers, conductors, organizers if they have access to music by women – if they don’t invite them to contact us

c.     Pass this reflection onto musicians, critics, organizers


Gandhi docet: “We can bring about the change we wish to see in the world”.


 Please share this article with your contacts to support women in their role of transmission of cultural heritage  






women in music




Women’s music is an essential part of world heritage.
 Empowering women composers recognizes their ability and potential to create new works involving the world, different cultures and musical fields.Music knows no boundaries.The fundamental role of women in the creation and transmission of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the creation and practice of music belongs not only to a people or a culture, but to all of humanity.

The Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica, upon invitation from the High Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations to be a partner for the 70th Anniversary Celebrations of the Signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is circulating a worldwide call to women composers, of all ages, to compose new music inspired by the ongoing battle for Human Rights and Peace. Ten works, chosen by an international Reading Commission designated by the Foundation, publicly announced at the end of July 2018, will be performed and recorded in a Gala Concert in the Teatro Argentina, Rome, on the 5th November.



1.      This call is open to (a) girls from 8 to 18(b) women from 19 years of age. 

2.      Composers may submit works in any musical idiom or genre (contemporary, classical, traditional, popular, jazz, etc). 

3.      Texts (where applicable) in any language must be accompanied by an English language translation. 

4.      Music must be written in traditional notation. If a composer is unable to write her own music in a score, she may use the services of someone else whose name must be given. 

5.      Works submitted may be new or previously performed and in PDF files. 

6.      Do not send recordings. 

7.      Each composer may send only ONE score

8.      Duration of work: maximum 6 minutes 

9.      Categories for submissions: Solo instrument Solo voice with one to four instruments Choir s.a.t.b with or without pianoforte Group/ensemble of 8 to 12 instruments 

10.   Please include, in WORD file (Times New Roman 12), a 10-line curriculum including nationality, date and place of birth, residence and a contact (email). 

11.   Girls of 18 years of age or younger must accompany the application with a signed letter from their family, school or teacher authorizing their participation, and confirming this is the composer’s own original work. 

12.   Deadline for submission: 30th June 2018 

13.   There is no submission fee

14.   Please send scores to: marking submission – GWIM4HumanRights




The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights.Drafted by representatives with legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, it set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.We are all entitled to our human rights without discrimination.These rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Please meditate on:

  • Article 1 - All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights
  • Article 3 - Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security
  • Article 18 - Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Article 26 - Everyone has the right to education 
  • Article 27 - Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any literary or artistic production of which he or she is the author.








“Se uno dei grandi traguardi del XX secolo è stato l'ingresso delle donne nei settori dell'economia, del commercio e delle attività intellettuali, una delle maggiori sfide del XXI secolo è garantire alle compositrici, autrici e creatrici di musica pari opportunità di accesso, avanzamento di carriera e riconoscimento del proprio lavoro nel settore della musica. Solo in questo modo sarà possibile superare una visione mono-culturale, maschile ed obsoleta, del patrimonio culturale ed artistico internazionale, a vantaggio dell'umanità intera”.

La Fondazione: dal 1978 ad oggi

La “Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica” è un’organizzazione internazionale non governativa, con sede a Fiuggi Città (FR), nata nel 1978 dalla volontà della musicista e musicologa Patricia Adkins Chiti. Da 35 anni la Fondazione promuove e sostiene il ruolo delle donne come creatrici e compositrici di musica attraverso una rete che riunisce oltre 27.000 donne - compositrici, creatrici di musica, pedagoghe, musicologhe e musiciste - in 108 paesi e 84 associazioni partner legalmente costituite in 59 paesi diversi. In Italia le associazioni che collaborano con la Fondazione hanno sede a: Bari, Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia, Salerno, Pescara, Ancona, Venezia, Milano, Torino e Roma.

Il mandato della Fondazione è stato sancito nel 1996 nella Dichiarazione di Fiuggi, documento tradotto in 32 lingue e firmato dai membri della rete per riconoscere il contributo delle donne alla cultura ed allo sviluppo, assicurare la loro partecipazione nella formulazione ed implementazione di politiche culturali ad ogni livello, garantire l’accesso a posti decisionali nel mondo della cultura e dello spettacolo e per preservare, promuovere, sostenere e salvaguardare i diritti artistici delle musiciste in ogni comunità.

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