Earlier this week Susanna Eastburn, chief executive of Sound and Music, wrote an article expressing by March 2020, ‘at least 50% of the composers we work with will identify as women.’ This is a major step for gender equality in music and composing.
The also article talks about gender equality and the ‘drop out’ rate of girls composing:
“At every single stage of development, from GCSE onwards, the gap between male and female applications widened – from 50% at GCSE level, to the 35% female applicants to our summer school, to the 25% female applicants to Sound and Music’s various professional artist development programmes.”
Here at YCP we have been running for 4 years now and we are delighted that we have had an equal split of male and female throughout, with some years being more girls applying! However, the numbers of composers at Conservatoire level is not so equal and often we have more male ‘mentors’ than female at YCP due to a lack of female composers in the department. I (Kirsty) have also found that when I visit schools to promote YCP it is always the girls that come and talk to me asking if they will be ‘good enough’ or if they are what I am ‘looking for’, with them normally stating ‘I am not a composer’. In 4 years I have not had a single boy ask me the same questions – but perhaps that is because they do not feel comfortable asking those questions openly. It is complex situation but we hope that in the future more young women feel empowered to be able to continue their composing career and lead the way for new music together!
Here are some of our extremely talented girls from over the last 4 years: