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You must know: Only 6 per cent of your favourite shows use music by women composers

When was the last time you heard a TV show scored by a woman?

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 2 July 2018, 3:11 PM
Why are there no female composers in sight?

Why are there no female composers in sight? Image: Twitter

Gender disparity in showbiz is finally under attack, and some shocking revelations are headed our way. For instance, are you aware that almost all of your favourite TV shows use music scored by men?

Of the 117 scripted network TV shows with an original score, which have aired between 2017-2018 (till now), only seven have listed a woman as their composer. This means only 6 per cent of primetime TV shows have had any music scored by women. 

"We are trying to get to the bottom of gender disparity in composers.The main thing is a lack of awareness. People may think there are no problems with gender parity, or that people have to just keep trying to break in to composing. Or there are no women trying to do it. That is not the case,” Lolita Ritmanis, the president of the Alliance for Women Film Composers told Refinery29.

In fact, most TV shows which revolve around female protagonists, whether in cable or in streaming services, like Glow, Jessica Jones, Supergirl, The Handmaid's Tale etc also use scores composed by men.

This is not to say that female-led shows must have a female composer or vice versa, but the overall ratio is incredibly dismal. "Invite women composers to submit. It is not okay anymore to put all women in one kind of box. You can't just put men in positions of power and tell women to be their assistants," added Ritmanis.

While Ramin Djawadi has scored for two of the biggest blockbuster shows, Game of Thrones and Westworld, and has performed sold-out shows all over the world with the GoT concert experience, American composer Blake Neely has kind of cornered most of the hit shows including DC superhero shows such as Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and teen drama Riverdale etc.

Reportedly, since 1966 only four women have been nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series, which is in a word, shocking.

Ritmanis thinks that the idea of a male maestro composing or conducting a score is so all-pervasive, that it's a problem. "If you see a woman conducting something, do you think, 'oh, how is she dressed, how did she do her hair, should her arms be showing or should she be wearing a jacket?' Are these the same things we think about male conductors? It is antiquated and unacceptable. It's similar to choosing a person of color to handle your jazz score," she added.

Interestingly, along with the Time's Up movement, there are societies and campaigns which are tracking sexism and gender bias in the industry and working towards solving it.

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and the site Women and Hollywood are not only pushing for inclusivity but are also actively campaigning to end gender bias, specifically in roles which have a history of hiring males.

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