Tayside and Central Scotland

The disco club set up to support female DJs

Frankie Elyse and Jozette set up DJ collective in Dundee Image copyright Aga Kryspin
Image caption Jozette (left) and Frankie Elyse (right) set up their collective to combat the gender imbalance in Dundee's music scene.

Twin sisters are fighting back against a gender imbalance in Scotland's music scene.

Musicians Frankie Elyse and her sister Jozette found that only a very small proportion of DJs in their home city of Dundee were women.

Now they have set up the Polka Dot Disco Club - a collective encouraging more women into the city's music scene.

Working with with Dundee University Students' Association (Dusa), they offer free workshops supporting women interested in becoming a DJ.

Their first graduates played their first live set at the union's annual gig celebrating International Women's Day.

Image copyright Lauren Kellie
Image caption Some of the new members of Dundee's Polka Dot Disco Club

Frankie and Jozette play gigs across the UK as part of their DJ/violin duo Kintra.

They were inspired by other female DJ collectives and club nights which aim to tackle the industry's gender imbalance.

Frankie Elyse, a BBC Scotland journalist, said nothing similar was happening in Dundee.

"The music scene there is so diverse," she said. "We wanted to do something to make the scene even more inclusive and to offer a safe learning space for people who are often under-represented."


Bridging the gender gap

Women working in the music industry have historically found it more difficult than men to rise to the top.

From dealing with degrading stereotypes to experiencing sexual harassment, women can struggle to be taken seriously in an industry that is often dubbed a "boys club."

Major music festivals have been criticised for not fairly representing female artists on their 2020 line-ups.

Smirnoff Equalising Music, which was set up in 2017, has been a key player in creating more opportunities for women in the dance music industry.

The three-year project saw emerging female DJs take part in a mentoring scheme and go on to perform at a variety of events such as Printworks and Snowbombing festivals.


Jozette added: "It can be intimidating for females to try and find their place in an industry that is disproportionately full of males.

"It can be really hard to put yourself out there if you don't have a network of people behind you doing the same thing."

Polka Dot Disco Club's free workshops were offered to females who had very little DJ experience but who were passionate about music.

Taylor, one of the new members, always wanted to learn to DJ but did not know where to start.

Image copyright Lauren Kellie
Image caption The students learned skills over four weeks

She said: "The experience of learning through the workshops has been so fulfilling, and it's so empowering to bounce off each other and build each other's confidence.

"It's not just been about the music, we've all become really good friends as well."

Frankie Elyse and Jozette have started to organise future gigs and plan to invite other women DJs from across the UK.

Jozette added: "Women DJ collectives shouldn't be necessary, and the gender of a DJ shouldn't even be an issue.

"It is so important for us to support each other, celebrate our diversity and work towards reconstructing the industry."

More on this story