Jennifer Nettles

Jennifer Nettles Continues Crusade of Equal Play in Country Music

Jennifer Nettles

In November 2019, country singer Jennifer Nettles wore an outfit to the 2019 CMA Awards that shined a light on the radio play disparity between male and female country artists. She paired her outfit with a hashtag, #EqualPlay, that’s steadily popping up all over social media. For Glamour, Nettles explains in her own words how that now-infamous red-carpet outfit came together—and why #EqualPlay should matter to everyone, not just musicians.

“People kind of knew there was a disparity in country music. But I think when you look at the actual statistical information behind it, when you really understand those numbers, it’s staggering,” Nettles writes. “The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative did a study and found that of the top 500 charted country songs from 2014 to 2018, only 16% were by female artists. That is tragic. Those numbers reveal a truth that artists share and lament over but haven’t had the actual research to back up until now.” The Grammy Award-winning artist continues: “For women in country music, what happens is that even out of that 16% who are being played, the average female is 29 years old. For men, the average mean age in that group is 42. That says a lot about what we value socially—the pressures that are put on women in terms of ageism and beauty. It also tells me that women aren’t offered the same support to be able to continue their careers.” She laments how the problem in country music is widespread across women in all industries across the country. “This is just a microcosm of the same challenges women feel all over this country in terms of the lack of support…”

Read Jennifer’s full essay on Glamour.com.

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