Houston musician Valeria Pinchuk recently posted an op/ed piece to the Houston Chronicle website on the scarcity of professional female musicians in live performance venues around the country.
The article, titled ‘Where the Ladies At? What Being in a Touring Band Taught Me About Female Musicians,” also details the numerous instances of sexism Pinchuk encountered while touring with her band, Birthday Club.
Pinchuk gathered her data from watching 46 bands in 15 cities, spanning Memphis to Philadelphia to Brooklyn. All but ten of the bands featured all-male lineups.
The remaining cities’ sets played with no more than two women in the respective bands, including one female soloist.
Her data showed the all-male bands typically played in smaller cities, which points to an underrepresentation of female acts in these venues:
“Ask any female that works in the field, and she will agree that there is a real problem with ladies being represented in the music industry,” Pinchuk wrote in her article. “Compared to what I’ve seen at home, it seemed almost eerie to me that I was the only female on stage night after night.”
She also documented numerous instances of sexism, both covert and overt, she encountered from club managers, technical staff and even patrons.
“Once, the sound guy actually explained to me that if I wanted more keys in my monitor, I could use the volume knob on my synth,” she wrote.
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A growing movement Pinchuk and other female musicians are using to gain more representation is supported by the Girls Rock Camp program, teaching girls ages 8 to 18 how to play music, write songs, create a band and perform on stage, all ending with a showcase at a local venue.
For more information on the Girls Rock Camp Houston showcase, visit girlsrockhouston.org.