There Are No Women in the Billboard Country Airplay Top 20 for the First Time in History
Country radio's marked lack of gender diversity has taken a turn for the historic. For the first time since Billboard's Country Airplay chart launched in January of 1990, its lineup of Top 20 artists is exclusively male.
On the most recent chart -- for the week of Dec. 8, 2018 -- the highest position held by a female artist is the No. 22 spot, where Carrie Underwood's "Love Wins" makes a three-spot climb after sitting in the 25th slot the previous week. Following that song, the next charting single to feature a female voice comes in at No. 27, where Kenny Chesney's "Better Boat," featuring singer-songwriter Mindy Smith, sits. After that collaboration, the next female vocalist to appear on the chart is Kelsea Ballerini, with her new single, "Miss Me More."
According to data compiled by Billboard, the Country Airplay chart for this same week of the year in 2017 (week of Dec. 2) contained three female artists in the Top 20 (Maren Morris, Ballerini and Carly Pearce); the same week in 2016 included four women among the Top 20 (Underwood, Morris, Lauren Alaina and Rihannon Giddens). Four of the Top 20 songs for the week of Dec. 5, 2015, were female artists. During the same week in 2010 and 2005, female vocalists accounted for six songs in the Top 20, and in 2000, that number was at seven.
In other words, female representation on the Country Airplay chart has seen a steady decline every year since 2015, with an overall downward trend since 2000. In 2018 alone, artists such as Miranda Lambert, Cassadee Pope, Angaleena Presley and many others have addressed the bias they face at country radio, even while they enjoy success in other aspects of their careers.
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