Neil Portnow, the Recording Academy president, has announced a new initiative to tackle gender bias in the music industry.

The move comes just days after Portnow was accused of sexism following his comments made after the recent Grammys urging women to ‘step up’ in order to be recognised, Portnow said: “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level.

“[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome,” he added.

Now, in the wake of widespread criticism, Portnow has officially apologised his comments and unveiled the new plan: “I also now realise that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right,” he wrote.

“The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organisation and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community. We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.”

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