Tegan and Sara Criticize Juno Awards' Lack of Gender Diversity in Open Letter

Tegan and Sara Criticize Juno Awards' Lack of Gender Diversity in Open Letter
Earlier today, the Juno Awards unveiled the full list of nominees for this year's festivities. While many Canadian musicians celebrated the news, Tegan and Sara were among those that noticed a major lack of gender diversity among the nominees. Now, they've shared an open letter to address the issue.

The pop duo were nominated for three categories for their work on the 2016 effort Love You to Death, but they themselves said that the amount of female nominees was "disappointing."

Eight of the awards saw no women nominated whatsoever, while 12 other awards only featured one woman in each category. As such, they encouraged those in the Canadian music industry to do better when promoting women, people of colour and LGBTQIIA artists in the future.

Read Tegan and Sara's full open letter below.

We'd like to extend a massive thank you to CARAS and the Junos for our three nominations today! Songwriter of the Year is of particular significance to us, because no matter which genre our individual albums have fallen into, it is the craft of songwriting that has connected them all.

Our first Juno win was in Winnipeg in 2014. Standing on that stage accepting an award in front of friends, family, peers, fans, and industry alike was an extremely moving experience. As queer women who have been out since the beginning of our career in 1998, this hasn't always felt like the most inclusive industry. But that night in Winnipeg has continued to stand out to us as a watershed moment.

We congratulate all the artists who were nominated today and commend the Junos for recognizing two Canadian legends, Sarah McLachlan and Buffy Sainte-Marie for two of the night's most prestigious awards – we're humbled and honoured to be included amongst you. It is with tremendous respect and absolutely no judgement of each nominee's well-deserved accomplishments that we take this moment to address the disappointing number of women nominated in many of the various categories.

In 8 categories no women were recognized at all, and in over 12 additional categories, only 1 in 5 of the nominees included a woman. Specifically in the areas of production and engineering, it is discouraging to not see a single woman represented.

We bring this message to members of our industry who have tremendous power to sign, fund, promote, nominate, support, acknowledge, and celebrate the diverse population of our country working in the arts today. The demographic breakdown of Juno nominations reflects the structural confines of our society and industry. We must do better as it sends an outdated message to the next generation about whose art and voice and message is valuable.

We sincerely appreciate the support we have received from CARAS, our record label, our agents, managers, promoters, radio programmers, journalists and the countless other establishments and individuals who have supported us since we began our career. But we wouldn't be Tegan and Sara if we didn't speak our minds about this important issue. We write this message today in the hopes that we can all work towards balancing the scales for women, people of colour, and LGBTQIIA artists and bands in our country in the years to come.

Thank you,
Tegan and Sara