Last week we saw the 60th Grammy awards hosted at Madison Square Garden. We saw Kendrick Lamar’s performance of his song “XXX” from his recent album, DAMN. We saw multigenerational duets with John Lennon and Tony Bennett as well as Miley Cyrus with Elton John. We saw three country artists who performed at the festival in Las Vegas where a gunman opened fire, pay tribute to the victims. What we didn’t see was adequate representation of women in music.
From 2013 to 2018 only 9.3 percent of Grammy nominees were female. The highest category in female nominees was Best New Artist, where 36.4 percent have been female. Although this category is often seen as a curse to artists, hurting their career.
These facts come from Dr. Stacy L. Smith from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Her report was titled “Inclusion in the Recording Studio?” This problem wasn’t only evident at the Grammys but also the Billboard charts. Smith looked at 600 songs from the Billboard’s year end Hot 100 chart between 2012 and 2017. In that time frame women had only 22.4 percent of those 600 songs.
At the most recent awards, 11 out of the 84 Grammy winners were women, and only one of those women, Alessia Cara, was present to accept her award during the show. During the show, Kesha performed her song “Praying” alongside other female artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, and Julia Michaels.
What does this say to The Recording Academy, who presents the awards, if a group of women are standing up and performing a song that symbolizes women standing up and fighting after being mistreated? It’s these very women that were underrepresented at the Grammys.
Unfortunately this problem isn’t in this one area, it can be at seen in any major award show. The only time women are truly represented are in their own category. Smith’s evidence shows that it’s just just the Grammys where they need improvements, it’s the music industry as a whole.
Looking at the movie industry, in the past 40 years only two women have won best director awards, one of those being just this year. Has it taken this long for Hollywood to realize women’s potential? We can only hope that the trend will continue in later years.