Winne Ama of Why Not Her? Chats With The Times UK

The Times UK: 20 Years of the Irish Singles Charts: Interview special


Just one in nine Irish artists with a hit single over the past 20 years have been women, a report has found.

A study by the Why Not Her? campaign found that female artists made up only 11.2 per cent of the Irish musicians featured in the singles charts between 2000 and 2019.

Of Irish artists with Top Ten singles since 2000, 71 per cent were men and 15 per cent were women. The remaining 14 per cent were collaborations.

Irish women achieved just 9 per cent of No 1 singles by Irish acts since 2000. Between 2002 and 2007, and again between 2010 and 2019, no Irish female artist topped the chart.

Winnie Ama, a Northern-Irish-Ghanaian singer-songwriter and lead researcher on the report, said that Irish female artists struggled to make it into the charts because they were not being played on radio or added to playlists on streaming services.

“The charts come from who is being played on the radio — and who is being played on the radio is being decided by radio producers and curators who sit down in a room each week and decide who is going to be on the rotation,” Ama said.

She added: “As a country they systematically decided not to feature Irish female artists on radio.”

Last year a report by Why Not Her? Found that 90 to 100 per cent of the heavy rotation playlists on most Irish radio stations, including RTE 2fm, Fm104 and Spin 1038, were made up of male artists. RTE Radio 1 was the only station in the country to have gender parity.

Ama said that because Irish female artists were not played on the radio as much as their male counterparts, they often earned less money.

– Winnie Ama in conversation with Aoife O’Brien of The Times

Female artists marginalised in Irish singles charts ‘thanks to radio silence’

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