Tomorrow, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is set to announce its 2020 inductees, but currently, less than 8% of all inductees are women. This year’s nominees include three female-fronted acts, but the full list of inductees over the years features a very low percentage of women.
Evelyn McDonnell, who teaches journalism at Loyola Marymount University, analyzed the gender representation in the hall of fame, and discovered that for every female frontwoman, her male bandmates get inducted into the hall of fame as well. Thus, over the last 34 years, only 69 of the 888 inductees are women.
Former NomCom member Craig Werner puts the blame for the number of women in the Rock Hall on the voters, not the nominators: "Well, I'm just going to say it: I think that the electorate makes dumb decisions on a regular basis." https://t.co/wot5oAl8uz @EvelynMcDonnell
— Future Rock Legends (@futurerocklgnds) January 14, 2020
Last year, inductee Janet Jackson criticized the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during her acceptance speech. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, please: 2020, induct more women,” Jackson urged, according to NPR. Stevie Nicks, who was also inducted last year, criticized the Rock Hall as well for the low number of women being inducted.
Rock Hall Foundation CEO Joel Peresman reportedly revealed that he’s heard the complaint before, according to NPR. “We’re trying to make this as gender-neutral as possible and just look at as: the criteria of being inducted is quality of work,” Peresman stated. “And if it’s male or female … that’s the criteria.”
The 26-person board includes two women and no members of color. https://t.co/e7SzkhNngn
— Bryan Lufkin (@bryan_lufkin) January 14, 2020
A nominating committee composed of approximately 30 artists, scholars, and record industry insiders creates the list of nominees each year. Then, about 1000 people get to vote on the ballot, from record company employees to writers and artists. Former Rock Hall board chair Jann Werner says that the problem is that the voting public includes everyone who has ever been inducted is well, an audience primarily made up of white men.