‘Girls just want to have fun’ and make music

Illustration by Devin Philips | The Signal

Women musicians have been historically underrepresented in the industry, especially when it comes to awards ceremonies and other titles of recognition. The percentage of women inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame has increased, but it has only jumped from 0% in 1986 to 7.7% today. 


The Grammy Awards have been the source of much of the underrepresentation since the first ceremony in 1959. Even in the past five years, only 10.4% of the nominees have been women.


A study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative concluded that men in the recording industry outnumber women 3.6 to 1. The number of male producers outnumbers female producers 47 to 1. Almost 900 producers were surveyed, and only four of them were women of color.


Georgia State professor Booker Edwards commented on the gender gap in the production industry and between different genres. 


“I have taught music production for years, and my classes have always been male dominant,” Edwards said. “I think part of the reason we see such a large gender gap is because every time we hear a story of a great music producer, it’s usually the story of a man. If we change that, I think we can start changing the trend.”


Edwards went further to give examples of successful women producers like Wonda Girl in rap and Linda Perry in pop.


“There are some women producers who are very successful, and I think their story needs to be told so that young ladies everywhere can see it as a real possibility for their future,” Edwards said.


Edwards also spoke about the differences in representation between different genres. Specifically, he commented on the underrepresentation of women artists in the rap industry. 


“There has always been the underrepresentation of women in those lanes, and even with the dominance of females in that arena now, like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Young M.A, there is still much more room for more,” Edwards said. 


Women at Georgia State also commented on how women artists impact them as young adult listeners. 


Georgia State student Brianna Frost spoke about the impact that Beyoncé’s music has on her. 


“I just love the way that she embodies feminism in all of her music,” Frost said. 


Georgia State student Melissa Hardguy spoke about the women artists who impact her, like Madison Beer and Lizzo.


“I really appreciate how Madison Beer engages with her audience on social media. It makes her even more relatable,” Hardguy said. “I like Lizzo because she just does what she wants and doesn’t care about what anyone thinks.”


The women artists and executives in the music industry encourage women to be confident in their everyday lives, and it inspires them to branch into the largely male-dominated field.


Edwards made an important point when it comes to the future of women in music.


“The great thing about music is there is always room for more, and the more talented women we have in the music industry the better off the music industry is,” he said.