New Eurovision tryout rules degrading to women

By Samúel Karl Ólafsson
Pollapönk, Iceland's entry in Eurovision this year, and Fridrik Omar.
Pollapönk, Iceland's entry in Eurovision this year, and Fridrik Omar.
A new rule that The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV) introduced for the Icelandic Eurovision tryouts states that half the entries for the tryouts must have a woman credited as a songwriter. Friðrik Ómar Hjörleifsson, a Eurovision veteran, claims that the rule is degrading for women.

This new rule for the Eurovision tryouts states: "RUV will actively strive to maintain gender equality among songwriters by ensuring that 50% of the songs that will be selected for the tryouts will have at least one woman songwriter."

"I don't see for whose benefit this rule is, the competition or women. I just don't get it. Whether your entry advances in a song contest or not should not be dependant upon your gender", says Friðrik Ómar in a radio interview.

Friðrik competed for Iceland in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade with "This is My Life", which ended in 14th place. He was back the next year on backing vocals when Jóhanna Guðrún came in 2nd place in Moscow with "Is it True?" He hasn't competed since but keeps an eye on the competition and the rules in particular, which have seen a lot of little changes over the years.

"I think the intention is to encourage women to take part. That must be the reason. But I don't think it is, it's more degrading for them. That their advancement in the competition is because of a gender quota is absurd."

When asked if he's heard the reactions of other musicians, Friðrik states that musicians of both genders find this rule to be preposterous.

"It would be nice to get answers to why this has found its way into the rules. I think it's degrading. Women are perfectly capable of writing awesome songs, this is unnecessary. The female musicians I've heard from about this agree with me."

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