International Women's Day 2020: Celebrating Women in Music


Do you know what? Women are great. They really are, and you'd know that if you took one look at the music scene. There are so many great women artists out there, whether it be the likes of Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Lizzo ruling the pop scene, Floor Jansen, Lzzy Hale, Steve Nicks, Amy Lee kicking ass in the heavier scene, or Lady Leshurr, Billie Eilish, Nova Twins and Nina Nesbitt continuing to raise their profiles. That's barely a handul of the countless awesome artists out there.


Women have been making waves in music for decades. Though the likes of Billie Holiday and The Chordettes made early waves for women in music, it wasn't until the 1960s that women really started to get a foothold in the industry. That decade, most notably, brought us Shirley Bassey and Aretha Franklin, who became an idol for women - particularly black women - as songs like 'Respect' became anthems for feminism. The genres of Motown and Northern Soul also saw plenty of women make their name in music. The 1970s then gave us the likes of Blondie, Heart and Fleetwood Mac, all of which created some of the best classic rock tunes we have, such as 'Hanging on the Telephone', 'Barracuda', and 'The Chain', the latter of which has to be one of the greatest songs of all time. Gloria Gaynor also released 'I Will Survive', which became an anthem for the LGBT community, particularly in the following decade.


Moving into the 1980s, we had Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, Pat Benatar all making waves, and who can forget the 'Queen of Pop' herself, Madonna, whose single 'Like a Prayer' also goes down as one of the best songs ever put to tape. The 1990s then introduced us to Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Spice Girls and The Cranberries, whose hit single 'Zombie' is nearing the one billion mark on YouTube.


Now in the 21st Century, you can take your pick. Beyoncé, Swift, Gaga, Lizzo, Eilish, Nesbitt, Leshurr, Nova Twins, Halestorm, Nightwish, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Ellie Goulding, Halsey, Mabel... there are so many great female artists out there and it's tough to know where to begin. Women are killing it out there - and it's rather unfortuate that the likes of Reading and Leeds fail to recognise that.

Delia Derbyshire brought us the original version of the iconic Doctor Who theme.

Women haven't only been making musical waves in this area either. The famous science-fiction show Doctor Who - which currently features a woman in the lead role for the very first time - has one of the most iconic theme tunes on the planet, and though it was composed by a man (Ron Grainer), it was realised and put together by the fantastic Delia Derbyshire. Her work on the show, and particularly that incredible theme, has cemented her place in history.


Sexism still runs rampant throughout the industry and more work needs to be done. But for today, let's celebrate the women who have brought us some truly brilliant music over the years, as well as the women behind the scenes, working as producers, songwriters, band managers etc. There's a playlist below of strictly female artists (with the one catch being bands with male members, either fronted by or featuring female members too). Enjoy. Happy International Women's day, everybody.