We all know there are about the same number of males as females in the U.S. and in the entire world. But the ratio between performing male and female MUSICIANS is about thirty to one, and this ratio has stayed nearly the same since Musicians Contact started 53 years ago! I am not including front female vocalists in this statistic – the number of male and female front singers has always been close to equal. But……..
What happens to all of the female musicians we see in college marching bands, orchestras, and the millions taking lessons when they are growing up? It’s not like playing an instrument could be considered a “masculine” job, like construction work or auto mechanics or whatever might be labeled..
Why do so few women go on to play professionally, or even part time? From my observation, females have actually had a better chance than males to capture many jobs being offered, and it has been this way for years. I know a lot of band leaders would prefer hiring females over males if they have the chance. Why?
Probably the main reason is that having a female instrumentalist is still thought of as “different” or “unique” and will help set the band apart from their competition. Plus if the person sings lead, they can have a “two for one” situation. This applies to original as well as cover groups, and this has never changed.
I have to admit an embarrassing prediction I made. Around 1975, just as the “woman’s lib” movement was gaining steam, I predicted to my co-workers that by the year 2000 there would be just as many females as males in live bands, and there would be just as many all-female bands as all-male bands. Whoa, was I wrong!
To this day I am still dumbfounded as to why this never happened. Obviously many get married and have kids, so of course this is a major reason, but what about all the others not in this group? And another large segment who could gig part time later when they are in their 40’s and 50’s? Where are they? As stated earlier, literally less than FIVE percent of all musicians playing instruments in bands today are female. Can you make any sense of it?