Where are All the Women?: The Gender Bias Against Female Composers in Western Classical Repertoire
Dr. Katharina Uhde
Arts and Sciences
Department of Music Education
The scarcity of female composers in the Western classical repertoire is indicative of the historic time period they were working in. This paper takes a brief look at the lives and compositions of prominent female composers throughout the ages. Barbara Strozzi, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre will be looked to as specific examples in what is more of a broad overview of women in the compositional world than an in-depth analysis. Of these women in particular, the names that are recognizable are primarily known in relation to the men in their lives while their own musical accomplishments are discussed less often or not at all. The others are more often than not relegated to the backlogs of history or single paragraphs in a music textbook. By looking at the lives of these women, it is evident that their absence in discussions of historically significant composers is not representative of a lack of talent from women in the field but instead of the gender bias of the era.
Gabor, Nichol, "Where are All the Women?: The Gender Bias Against Female Composers in Western Classical Repertoire" (2016). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 507.