Women in music: The industry still has a long way to go

A female singer stands in front of a crowd

Even to this day, the industry struggles to represent women as equals to their male counterparts. - Credit: Getty Images

March 8 marked International Women’s Day 2021, a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, bringing awareness to the movement towards women's rights and equality around the globe. 

The music industry is no exception to gender inequality, with roots in 19th century social expectations that women were to only be devoted to their home and religion.

We’ve come a long way from having to be a nun or be born into a family of musicians to be accepted as music creators but even to this day, the industry struggles to represent women as equals to their male counterparts. 

It’s been a tough ride for women to make their mark creating and working in the music business (to say the least), despite a myriad of exceptional game-changing female talent in the field. 

A PRS for Music study has released figures which show that even with an increase in women creating careers within the music industry, the gender balance within the professional songwriter and composer sectors are still heavily weighted in favour of male professionals, with the increase failing to balance the male dominated industry. 

Among the report, it was shown that only one in six  - 16.7 per cent - women received royalties in 2020 from music which had been downloaded, streamed, broadcast or performed by songwriters or composers. 

The pandemic caused financial uncertainty and hardship for the industry as a whole, with creatives struggling to find financial stability without work. 

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The PRS for Music report highlights that music industry professionals who were male still earned more money, stating that the top 10 highest earning female songwriters and composers earned 70 per cent less income than their male equivalents in 2020. 

These statistics are a reminder that female music creators still suffer under a male dominated industry and there is still so much work to do in order to bridge the gender gap in the music world.

While some progress is being made, the industry has a long way to go in order to work towards a more balanced, representative space for female music creatives.