Pin It
Dua Lipa, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift
Photo Hugo Comte, Black Is King, Instagram/@taylorswift

Grammys organisation to launch a study on women’s representation in music

The Recording Academy has announced the study following claims of systemic sexism and bias

In late 2020, the nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards were announced, led by Beyoncé with nine nods for her visual album, Black Is King, followed by Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift with six nominations each. Despite women leading the pack, however, just 23% of the overall nominees for the televised ceremony – set to air March 14 – identify as women. That’s just 198 nominees out of 853, across 83 different categories, according to reports from the awards show organisers.

Following that particularly uninspiring news, the Recording Academy – i.e. the music industry body behind the Grammy Awards – is reportedly set to launch a study on women’s representation in the music industry, in collaboration with Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University.

“The music industry is in need of a broad gender study that examines women representation beyond today’s popular music,” says Susan Whitehead, chair of the Berklee College of Music board of trustees (via the Guardian). “We look forward to working with the Recording Academy to develop strong methodology for this study and to authentically address the lack of women representation in the music industry.”

The Grammys’ treatment and representation of women has been under a particularly bright spotlight since 2018, when then-president of the Recording Academy Neil Portnow responded to criticisms of gender bias by saying that women just need to “step up”. 

The Recording Academy has since launched an initiative to promote gender diversity, and has pledged to double the number of female voters by 2025. “While we are hopeful that we will still see benefit from that effort, we haven’t seen enough progress to date,” says interim president and chief executive Harvey Mason Jr. In August 2019, the Academy also appointed Deborah Dugan as its new CEO. Dugan was subsequently removed a few months later and, following her removal, shared allegations of harassment and corruption, amid a culture of sexual and racial discrimination.

Other studies in recent years have found that harassment and bias are still major issues for women in the music industry, with many reporting instances of gender-based discrimination and microaggressions. The new study is expected to be completed and unveiled in early 2022.