Where are all the female DJs?

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In honour of International Women's Day, Layla Link looks briefly at the gender imbalance present in the electronic, house and techno scenes.

Gender discrimination took centre stage at last year's International Music Summit, which was co-founded by legendary DJ Pete Tong.

The gender ratio behind DJ booths tends to lean heavily towards male selectors, and in the lead up to International Women’s Day, I thought I’d look at one aspect of a massive part of most people’s lives: women in music. Why aren’t there more female DJs? This is a question that we hear far too often in the music industry and the dance music scene. Dance music has no excuse for being a boys' club.

I know many male DJs who have egos the size of Jupiter, yet can’t even hold their own behind the decks to make a proper mix.

HuffPost analysis of festival lineups in 2016 showed that for the ten festivals they looked at, women artists made up only 12 percent of acts in 2016 — compared to 78 percent male performers.

However, despite needing a more balanced ratio, I know of many women DJs who play gigs regularly both locally and internationally. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most amazing female DJs I could think of.

Listen to Epigram Music's latest EpiMix from Elena Ice: an upcoming dnb artist on the Bristol scene, and a Chemistry student at UoB.

I know so many amazing female DJs who underestimate their skills and value in the music industry, while equally, I know many male DJs who have egos the size of Jupiter, yet can’t even hold their own behind the decks to make a proper mix.

There are some amazing women fighting for their place in the industry. The DJ Hannah Wants has taken the male-dominated worlds of both sport and music by storm; she used to play football professionally Aston Villa LFC . Described by Resident Advisor as being "hugely creative behind the decks," Hannah has an inventive style that blends house and bass. When she's not playing significant festival dates, Wants releases bi-monthly 24-track mixes via her Soundcloud.

Maya Jane Coles is at the top her game and keeps moving from strength to strength. Miss Kittin says dance music has not come far enough in creating equal opportunities for women.

Huffington Post reported that Novak, who goes by Jack - short for Jacqueline - was asked ‘Are you Jack's girlfriend?’ as she was setting up for the night. Even Novak’s fans have assumed her to be male and were shocked by a photo of her in her home studio, published online.

This is the problem - it’s not that there aren’t enough, it’s that they aren’t recognised.

So, the real answer for why there aren’t more women DJs is that they are out there, you just have to go out and look for them. This is the problem - it’s not that there aren’t enough, it’s that they aren’t recognised.


Featured image: Epigram / Kate Hutchison


Which female DJs are you most excited about? Let us know!

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