Mariah Carey, along with five other women, is nominated for the Songwriters Hall Of Fame this year. And while Mimi’s nomination should be a reason to celebrate, it’s hard to feel excited when you take a closer look at the numbers. Out of the 24 nominees up for induction in 2020, only six are women. Worse, out of the 439 songwriters that have been inducted since 1970, only 31 are women, according to Billboard. This means women make up a whopping 7% of the inductees. So, yes, it’s safe to say the Songwriters Hall of Fame has a woman problem. So does all of songwriting. A 2019 report from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that women made up only 12.3% of songwriters on the most popular songs in 2018.
This year’s nominees, who become eligible after writing songs for 20 years, include three female solo artists: Carey, Patti Smith, and Gloria Estefan. The Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox, country songwriter Kye Fleming, and Broadway lyricist Lynn Ahrens were nominated alongside their male co-writing partners. The other all-male nominees for the Songwriters Hall of Fame include Outkast, R.E.M, and Pharrell as part of The Neptunes with Chad Hugo. Those who are voted into the Hall of Fame will be inducted at the 51st annual Induction & Awards Gala in New York on June 11, 2020, according to the Associated Press, who chose to focus only on the men nominated in their report.
Unfortunately, women artists being overlooked is a running theme in music. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has also largely ignored female musicians in its 34-year history. Out of the 888 artists in the hall of fame, only 69 are women, just 7.7%, according to Longreads. Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson were the only female performers inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019. Out of the 16 performers nominated for the 2020 class, only three are women: Pat Benatar, Chaka Khan as part of the band Rufus, and Whitney Houston.