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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: Don't stop celebrating women in music next month

madison headshot.jpg
Assistant Arts Editor Madison Ward

Women’s History Month may be fading out, but that doesn’t mean we should stop cranking up the volume on female musical artists making a difference. The 2021 Grammys proved that loud and proud females were inspiring a new generation of girls to demand equality while pumping out society-shattering tunes – literally.   

Women making political and social statements through their music and personal appearances won big at this year’s Grammys. Superstar artists Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion and Billie Eilish combined for 10 Golden Turntables, upsetting the historically male-dominated awards. Fiona Apple also earned a 2021 Grammy decades after first topping the charts, proving women social justice rockers have serious staying power.

During the past year, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for music and its ability to unite us, even remotely. Although my Apple Music Replay was an admittedly awkward mix of Lana del Ray and City Girls, powerful female artists conquered COVID-19 challenges to create powerfully empowering music.

If Olivia Rodrigo can record a record-breaking, chart-topping hit at barely 16 years old, I can write up my geology lab!

We can’t dismiss the challenges female artists have faced in the past, and the barriers that persist. From misogyny, sexism and objectification of women in the music industry to the fact that music production remains male-dominated — 95 percent of producers in 2019 were men — it isn’t easy to be a woman in music. And women of color face even more boundaries, with additional pressures of racial inequality and a lack of representation on top of all the other hurdles.  

Despite these gender challenges, everyone knows that girls do it best. (If you don’t, simply ask any girl.) Beyoncé sang it best: “Who runs the world? Girls!” Uplifting, strong, resilient women sharing their stories and fighting for fairness through music has never been more important, and I’m excited to share some of my favorite songs from women artists who inspire me daily. 

From SZA to Ariana Grande (and maybe a little too much Girl in Red), blast these beats whenever you need a burst of girl power to get you going. Whether studying at Davis Library, dancing with friends after a long week of classes or basking in the sun on the quad, I love turning up these tunes, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 

I also apologize if you have ever been privy to the torture of me singing them. I’m sorry if I’m out of tune, but my passion is perfect pitch.  

Happy Women’s History Month!