The Grammys have announced plans to establish an independent task force to address the biases against women in the music community.

Neil Portnow (pictured above), the President and Chief Executive officer of the Recording Academy, which organises the Grammy Awards, announced the formation of this task force following criticisms of comments he made during the recent 60th Grammy Awards as well as accusations of sexism during the ceremony.

This year, women won in only 17 of 86 categories. Only one of these categories was shown during the television broadcast, Alessia Cara for Best New Artist. When Portnow was questioned about this lack of gender equality, he told Variety that women need to “step up”.

He 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.” Though he soon apologised and said that his comments failed to convey the point he was trying to make, the statement prompted calls for Portnow’s resignation, with many saying that his comments were insulting.

“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,” Portnow said on Thursday. “We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.”

He added: “I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on.”