While the question “where are all the women?” can be asked of essentially every profession to reveal a grim reality that isn’t even close to being considered breaking news, one industry hit particularly hard is music production.
A female creator has yet to win a GRAMMY Award for producer of the year for a non-classical piece. That very problematic fact alone is fueling the careers of women everywhere. But another fact is hard to explain, and furthermore even harder to overcome: women represent less than five percent of music producers and engineers. Pause for reaction.
As BBC contributor Mark Savage pointed out in 2012, “Beat-making, on the other hand, has historically been a boys’ club. The interaction between performer and beat has mostly played out in one highly gendered arrangement: male producer, female performer.”
Four years later, the fight against this is being fought. Four years from now, the battle will still continue. Putting it in layman’s terms, what remains most important is for women to keep pushing boundaries and consequently overcoming obstacles, especially in creating music and identifying with the role of the producer, in turn redefining what that even means.
The conversation about the lack of female producers in music, across the board genre-wise, isn’t one that can be neatly compacted into 140 characters or even one article exploring the topic. Continuing these conversations—and even just beginning them—is extremely important.
Reaching out to 13 different women working against the current, FADER recently sparked an interesting and vital dialogue exploring how to change the male-dominated studio culture of our times. Reoccurring themes included identifying the existing hurdles that women must overcome (ones that men don’t often face as a systematic flaw in our culture), sexism, racism, the competitive and challenging nature of production and engineering in general, making resources more available/appealing and the ways that visibility plays a major role.
While these women presented a diverse range of answers, insight and calls to action, one thing is universal: we must keep supporting the creative endeavors of women, period.
We can start by simply continuing to listen and giving props where props are due.
Produced by WondaGurl
Produced by Cooly G
Produced by the late Sylvia Robinson
Produced by Crystal Caines and WondaGurl
Produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow
Written By Missy Elliott w/ production assistance from Pharrell
Produced by Sydney Bennett (also known as Syd The Kid) and other group members
Produced by TrakGirl and AlexDiiamonds
Produced by Ill-Esha
Produced by Fatima Al Qadiri