Like a lot of industries, the balance between the sexes is slowly shifting. However, the music industry is still, by and large, an old boys club – as many industries are. Women are shoe-horned into the stereotypical gender roles of teacher and nurturer, while men are encouraged to take risks and strive for greatness with their art.

An article about the Australian music industry stated that 80% of songwriters are men whilst 70% of music teachers are women, which is sad as societal influences do impact women’s decisions. However, surely in the 21st century women can break these moulds and achieve success through determination and commitment?

Take a listen to these singers, who have reached success through these qualities, here.

Another matter is the commercial viability aspect to music. I was surprised to learn that Marina’s video for “Heartbreaker” was delayed in the U.S., referred to in a tweet as having to do with her ‘looking too ugly for her U.S. record company’s tastes’:

“At the moment in the U.S. they’re having trouble getting it on music channels because they say it’s homoerotic. And I’m like, how rude and how ridiculous is that when girls put up with scantily-clad women grinding [in videos] and no one says, “This is totally lesbian and we can’t have it on TV!” So I just don’t see the problem. I think it’s a complete double standard and it’s ridiculous.”

Solange Knowles took to twitter to address the issue of being presented as the “face” of her music, or a “vocal muse”, arguing that she writes or co-writes all her songs. Charlie XCX has argued that there is no ‘shame in signing a deal, working with other collaborators’: “re-working songs I wrote when I was 14, creating new amazing ones and writings songs for other people too”. The latter category includes Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, a worldwide top 10 hit that she co-wrote with the Swedish duo.

Grimes observed that female artists’ contributions to their own music can be diminished – even when they are without studio accompaniment: “I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if I did this by accident and I’m gonna flounder without them. Or as if the fact that I’m a woman makes me incapable of using technology. I have never seen this kind of thing happen to any of my male peers. I’m tired of the weird insistence that I need a band or I need to work with outside producers.”

This playlist and accompanying piece was created by Claire Hume, Music Blogger at Rhetoric Magazine. Come back for more every Wednesday!