Respect - more than just a word.

Who Says Girls Can’t Rock Out Too?

Written by Maddy Crehan

We are incredibly lucky in Australia to be surrounded by such a remarkable music scene, this featuring countless talented female musicians. So why is there still a mass under-representation of women in the music industry?

CourtneyBarnett_18_AHCourtney Barnett

Music is typically regarded as a male-dominated industry, visit this site as we are constantly presented with ideals of male rock stars in movies, information pills media and popular culture, while women, if featured at all, are often portrayed as muses, groupies, or side-kicks. This misconception, that women cannot be as successful as men in the music business, is beginning to diminish with outstanding role models continuously emerging, such as Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher, Thelma Plum, Airling, and Ella Thompson, just to name a few. We are clearly not lacking in female musical talent, but rather in the opportunity to access and experience such talent.


The gender inequality in festival line-ups is evident across the board, displaying a significantly lower percentage of female artists, especially as headline acts. This imbalance was also apparent in Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown in 2015 with 48 per cent of voters being female, but only 21 acts featuring women in prominent roles. And in 2009, when Triple J released the Hottest 100 “of all time”, there were no female artists on the list at all. As a platform that is renowned for assisting young artists break into the music industry, Triple J should be embracing the opportunity to encourage the participation and development of ALL musicians.

Thelma Plum008Thelma Plum

This discussion surrounding women in music has been increasingly apparent this year, with organisations such as One of One and Listen, both seeking to celebrate women’s achievements in the music industry and provide them with a voice. Listen aims to create a dialogue about women’s achievements in music, and also present events and gigs to celebrate female music in Australia. To celebrate their first birthday in September Listen are hosting an event with all female performers at the Gasometer hotel. Similarly, One of One is an online community aiming to inspire and empower women by posting an interview each week with a different woman involved in music, including artists, managers, publicists, radio personalities, etc. Whilst the majority of the interviews are largely positive accounts, several mention the difficulties women in music are constantly faced with. Gender discrimination in music is simply not thought of, but it’s clear that the imbalance is present not just among performers but throughout the industry and business side as well. However this online community is an indication of the enormous amounts of encouragement and inspiration available for women interested in the music scene.

listen event

Although there is still work to be done in terms of diminishing gender inequality in music, there is an incredible community of passionate, talented and creative women all over Australia determined to continue this discussion and encourage more and more women to take part in the industry. So let’s keep making music, and let’s keep supporting music. And let’s continue to empower women in the music industry.


Maddy Crehan

Maddy volunteers for Rosie and is passionate about music, history, art and gender equality.

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