For the first time since it launched in 1990, Billboard's Country Airplay chart doesn't feature any women artists in the top 20. The chart, dated Dec. 8, caps a particularly difficult year for women in country music.
The highest ranking female country artist is Carrie Underwood, who comes in at No. 22 with "Love Wins." Including Underwood, there are only eight female artists total in the top 60: Mindy Smith, who's featured on Kenny Chesney's "Better Boat" at No. 27, Hillary Lindsey, who's featured on Randy Houser's "What Whiskey Does" at No. 40, Maddie & Tae with "Friends Don't" at No. 41, Runaway June with "I Buy My Own Drinks" at No. 44, Lauren Alaina with "Ladies in the '90s" at No. 47 and Carly Pearce with "Closer to You" at No. 53.
Billboard's Jim Asker traces the Country Airplay chart from 1990 through 2015 in five year increments, showing that, historically, women have been better represented in the chart's top 20. In the year 2000 alone, women in solo and group roles held seven slots on the top 20 portion of the Country Airplay chart.
Read More: Where Are the Women on Country Radio?
The lack of women on country radio has been a hot topic of discussion for the past few years. But the current Country Airplay chart puts into perspective just how far country radio has fallen in terms of gender inequality and underrepresentation. Female country artists are frequently told that "women don't want to listen to other women" and many radio programmers won't play two female artists back to back. In addition, singles by women artists often aren't given the same chance to chart as those by male artists.
This year, country superstars like Underwood, Shania Twain, Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert and more have called out the gender inequality on country radio. If that's not enough, one only needs to glance at the year end charts to see that female country artists and country fans' concerns about inequality aren't unwarranted. The numbers don't lie.
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