There’s a really good piece on RS Country today about the dearth of gender equality at the moment in country music in the US, which contains the alarming fact that for the first time in the history of Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart, there are no women in the Top 20. (The Guardian too on a similar note today has a piece on the lack of black country singers). RS reports: “It’s an understatement to say that the last year was a bad one for the Grammy Awards when it came to gender inclusivity. Women have never exactly been afforded equal representation at the annual event, but when a study from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that only nine percent of nominees between 2013 and 2018 were women, it forced the conversation to a tipping point. Add in Recording Academy president Neil Portnow’s hall-of-fame flub of asking women to “step up,” and the awards were faced with one of two options: dismiss the criticism as bad PR and hope it blows over, or actually try and do something.
They chose the latter, launching a task force to examine the “various barriers and unconscious biases faced by underrepresented communities throughout the music industry and, specifically, across Recording Academy operations and policies.” They also worked to change the fundamentals of Grammy voting (from the number of nominees allowed in the four main categories to the composition of the voting committee itself). While the outcome was not perfect (awards shows rarely are) women — from Kacey Musgraves and Janelle Monáe to Cardi B and Maren Morris — were well represented when the nominations for the 61st annual ceremonies were announced last week.”
You can read the whole article over at RS Country here.