Did you know no woman has ever been awarded a Grammy for producer of the year? Since the Grammy category for producer of the year non-classical was handed out in 1975 no woman has taken home the golden gramophone. Women include Janet Jackson, Paula Cole, Sheryl Crow, Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, and Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin from Prince’s band The Revolution has been nominated for producing their own music but never winning.
Don’t get it confused, this is not just a Grammy issue, just in the last decade only two women ( Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift ) have been on Billboards year-end Top producers chart for their songs. So why is producing a “mans world”? Some may say it’s a lack of role models, where are they if there are any? Former M.I.A. drummer Kiran Gandhi, aka Madam Gandhi, is working to push other female producers into the spotlight. In October 2018, she released a remixed version of her Voices EP with each track produced by a woman of color. Some women producers have recalled it being uncomfortable, their idea is passed over in the studio while their male counterparts are praised for the same exact idea.
Ebony Oshunrinde aka Wondagurl a 22-year-old producer who has worked with JAY-Z, Rihanna and more recalls people sometimes saying “ Why is this girl in the room?” Lack of female producers can also account for the lack of encouragement for women to enter STEM fields aids in the gender gap as well. “[Fewer] females go to audio engineering schools,” says one major-label A&R executive, who has never worked with an artist that’s requested a female producer. Based on the relevance of female chart toppers you would expect the music industry is increasingly being shaped by powerful women. This doesn’t mean female producers aren’t creating quality bangers, female producer Sylvia Massy peaking to LA Weekly, blames the work environment. “A career in music production means a lot of 14 hour days in a dark studio with little outside contact. Women can find it hard to meet new people in that type of environment, and most eventually gravitate into fields that allow them to grow socially,” she said. But then again who would like to be locked up in a dark room for 14+ hours at a time regardless of gender.
Statistics show that 94% of people who buy high fidelity audio equipment are men possibly linked to the gender stereotyping that happens at a very early age of a child’s life-shaping what their interest and skills should be. In result, women are deterred from getting into production because it’s a “man’s job” and as a result, we have fewer women producers than we should and it is affecting the awards. To help the gender inequality in the production industry we have to encourage production rather than performance at a young age putting an emphasis on skill as we often do boys *rolls eyes* Encouraging girls that they are more than just a pretty face we might start seeing them work behind the scenes.