WMN Playlist: women who explore activism in their music

In honour of International Women’s Day, I wanted to celebrate women who use activism in their music to bring about change either within society or within the UK Music Industry.

There are many incredible women fighting against injustices within the UK. Often women are called a ‘bitch’ or are ignored because they’re deemed as being ‘over-sensitive’ – which is a horrible stereotype and just plain wrong.

I think we still have a long way to go in order for women to be able to voice their opinions without backlash from the media and the public. More LGBTQ+ artists, disabled artists, and generally artists of colour need to be given a voice.

Ms Mohammed

Pandora is a song from an artist who is embracing her femininity with unapologetic punk.  Ms Mohammed founded Clit Rock in 2013 fighting against FGM.

The Cranberries

Inspired by the IRA bombing killing two children in 1993 this song showcased the raw emotion of losing a child due to military violence. The recent passing of Dolores O’Riordan highlighted the poignancy of this song and her legacy.

Big Joanie

A black feminist DIY punk band who are have stood their ground in the punk community. The lyrics tell a story of the torment of being in an abusive relationship. Big Joanie play a big part in the DIY punk scene and have been gigging around London.

Sistah Punk EP by Big Joanie


M.I.A has never been afraid to voice her opinions on issues throughout the UK and the world. I think this song encompasses her awareness of today’s issues whilst also reflecting the immigration crisis of current times.


Anohni’s melancholy vocals highlight her view on global warming and the lack of human connection with the earth.

Jorja Smith

Blue Lights appears to be a comment on London and the violent culture embedded within the city.

Ray Blk

This freestyle is directed at young girls who may be getting caught up in ‘celebrity culture’ and instead she suggests young people should focus on themselves and their wellbeing. It’s about self-love and being proud of your own talents.

Little Simz

Gratitude suggests we should be grateful for what we have despite the hardships within society that we cannot control. The video also focuses on South African students protesting ‘education is not a privilege, but a right’.

Marina and the Diamonds

Marina’s lyrics explore the contradictions that women face within everyday life and the music industry. She’s never shied away from having a big voice and this song is no exception.

Laura Mvula

Overcome is a song that focuses on the importance of willpower during hard times and today’s political and social climate.

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