It’s Time for the Grammys to ‘Step Up’

If you watched the 2018 Grammys, you may have noticed something a little odd. Despite there being multiple female performers and nominees that night, there were only four female winners. Out of these four, three won within a pair/group, meaning only Alessia Cara was left to win with a solo award. Understandably, this was hugely disappointing for many of the viewers out there, prompting the hashtag #GrammysSoMale to trend on Twitter.


As the night went on, dismay over the results grew. As with any award shows, there are disagreements over who should’ve won, but as many would argue, the confusion over seeing Ed Sheeran (who wasn’t even in attendance) win Best Pop Solo Performance over Kesha, Lady Gaga, P!nk, and Kelly Clarkson was justified. As others have pointed out, Ed Sheeran winning really summed up the music industry’s treatment of women. The irony of a song objectifying women winning instead of one about overcoming sexual abuse apparently seems to be lost on the voters of The Recording Academy. This was particularly disappointing as many of the attendees were wearing white roses in solidarity with the victims of sexual assault and harassment.


Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. After the show, Grammys President Neil Portnow said that “[i]t has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level... [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.” It’s opinions like this that show why the entertainment industry as a whole has such a gender problem. As reported by the University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only 9.3% of Grammy nominees between 2013 to 2018 were women. And, as Britney Spears’ business manager, Lou Taylor, said in response, “I step up and step in everyday! There are countless women who help provide the foundation that this business is built on…” further showing that the problem is on the Grammys’ side, not the lack of female talent or drive out there.


The gender gap is a systemic problem and can only be truly fixed inside out and top down. If the Grammys president believes women are the only ones who can make this change, then you can bet there are more people out there who believe the same thing. It is with cooperation and understanding that more can be done, and without it, the hill to climb for equality becomes steeper for women.