In 2018, a classical music report produced found that across Europe, almost 98% of classical and contemporary classical music performed (during the three seasons preceding the report) was written by men.

A report conducted as little as just a year ago published findings that women are still largely underrepresented in the contemporary music industry, with significantly more men than women being signed by labels and more men releasing songs.

Women’s voices are missing from our entire musical history – from the historical composers we regularly celebrate for their genius (and teach about in our classrooms) to the songs we hear today. Sexism is still apparent in the lyrics written in these songs and the videos in which they feature.

Women from minority ethnicities struggle to be represented from ages past right through into the modern world – likely much more so than their Western white colleagues. Don’t let Beyoncé fool you – women of African-American descent still have a harder fight to be recognised for their achievements in music (along with their counterparts from other cultural backgrounds), and it is still much harder than ever for these women to gain a foothold in a deeply biased industry.

For most of musical history, women have been largely on the side lines, but things are slowly changing. I personally would like to see a significant change within my lifetime. But how can we affect this kind of change? We need more male allies, for a start.

My feeling is also that we begin by raising awareness about the women, past and present, who have had a significant impact on the music we hear all around us today. We start with what Yorkshire Youth & Music is passionate about – educating ourselves and the young people around us about the musical capabilities of women from across the world.

You can start your education about women in music here:

Women Music Producers fighting for equality
(there’s a warning on this video, folks – it includes swearing):

The MOBO Awards

The PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music Award