Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I suppose women have many more domestic commitments than men. Anyway men are the ones who like the to and fro-ing of argument even if it goes off at a tangent frequently. Us females do I think watch such contributions with a bit of amusement.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Good question. I am not particularly “domestic” but I run my own business and have to manage my time. I certainly find some of the descent into arguments and sarcasm distracting and I often stop reading and play music instead.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"I suppose women have many more domestic commitments than men."

I’m not sure how this thread is going to go? 🙁

I don’t think that either men or women necessarily lead more busy lives in any sphere. So, I don’t think it’s relevant.

If we’re talking stereotypes, then you could suggest that men do prefer to argue but, equally, women enjoy a good gossip too. I don’t believe either is necessarily true either.

Of course, we do not know for sure how many posters of each sex or gender(Is it the same thing any more?) there are on the site as so many of us use pseudonyms. However, I would be inclined to believe that there are more regular male posters.

Possibly, more men still play Irish music in sessions still although that’s becoming less so. Certainly, there are many women who play fiddle, flute, and so on. Also, harp players are predominantly female.

Guitar and bodhran players are possibly still mainly male…. the bald headed, pot bellied, tattooed, single ear ring, and pony tail stereotype springs to mind. 😛

…….Please take most of the above comments with a pinch of salt… 🙂

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

The only way to improve any perceived poor situation I would imagine is by active contribution. The session I regularly attend is split more or less fifty/fifty male and female participation ( I don’t know how representative this example is ) and is often a very enjoyable experience. I also think you don’t have to be female to feel disappointed and disengaged when a thread or conversation descends into argument and sarcasm. I have noticed that we men usually up our levels of behaviour in mixed company, and on many occasion a man may well accept open criticism for misconduct from a woman without the immediate knee jerk aggressive response you get when it’s delivered by another man. So, come on ladies - Help us out ! 🙂

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I would guess as a general rule that it’s a combination of mainly two factors.
One, that in my experience there are proportionally more male players than female.
And two, that a lot of female players are of a younger generation, and many of the regular contributors to the site seem to be of an older generation who perhaps have more time to spend on music.
Purely my observations - I could be completely wrong!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

How do you know the gender of a contributer unless they use their name ? - and even then .

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Johhny Jay, your comment reminded me of the oft-heard "well, I’m not one to gossip, but WAIT TILL I TELL YOU!!!" 🙂

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

How do you know the age and gender of participants who use ambiguous usernames? Or are your gender biases taking over and presuming that argumentative posters are male? "Anyway men are the ones who like the to and fro-ing of argument even if it goes off at a tangent frequently." That’s a rather sweeping assertion to make! These assumptions of gendered behaviour pi$$ me off, given the underlying assumptions that women, if behaving in a suitably feminine manner, should be ‘nice’ and ‘quiet’ have a lot to answer for.

But yes, it does seem to be the case that many sessions are predominantly male, and the professional side of the trad music industry is dominated by men. This has very little to do with inherent characteristics of either gender, and a lot to do with bias and stereotypes in the music industry and society generally.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Reaching "session standard" on a mainstream ITM instrument normally requires a substantial amount of "woodshedding" ie solo practice, often without a teacher. Is there a gender difference in willingness and enthusiasm for going through this process?

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Very true, that last paragraph, Dr SS.
Some, but not all of those with "gender-free" pseudonyms have given other clues in their posts as to their gender.
I have, over the years, contributed to a number of online forums, and did start with a gender-ambiguous name, but only because we were then encouraged not to use real names: the tide turned later. But my impression is, that in all of these online groups, men outnumber women significantly - Ok, only an impression before someone shouts "where’s your proof?".
On one, in particular, there is a cluster of males, (going by their masculine names), who p£ss everybody else off with their sniping, fight-finding, mud-slinging and name-calling: they have driven a number of former users of the site away with the stuff they seem to get away with saying online, but perhaps would not dare to say face to face if they valued their teeth! The sad thing is that most of them do actually know a lot about music, but that gets lost in the morass of nastiness between them. The moderators very rarely ban anyone or delete posts.
Thank goodness this site is, on the whole, a lot more civilised…… most of the time!
As for sessions, sometimes I can be one of very few females present, other times we are in the majority, perhaps more likely at mainly singing sessions. We do also sometimes favour playing in smaller invited groups at each others’ homes rather than at pub sessions.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"How do you know the gender of a contributor unless they use their name?"
Exactly, Kenny. I happen to be male (and also to be young), but I don’t think any of my posts have ever indicated as such. I feel that I don’t subscribe to the traditional "male" role though, as I have never cared for sports and have always thought it important for people to openly talk about feelings and emotions, unlike many of my male peers.
So, does it really matter? Men and women can both argue freely and safely in this day and age, at least in most cultures. Both are just as likely to be solid, coherent writers as they might be likely to make spelling mistakes.
And then there’s gender identity. I’m not even going to try to go into that.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

About age.
I also find it easier (and have always found it as such) to chat with older adults, such as my parents and their friends. Most of my college peers just cannot understand the type of music I listen to. If anything, when I send a friend a trad video they just listen out of politeness. By the same token, I can only barely tolerate the rap most of my peers like, and have never really understood the appeal.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I’ve been seeing this pattern with Irish(ish) bands that contain one woman and 1+ men: Dervish, Altan, Flook, Realta, De Dannan, Danu, Four Winds, Stockton’s Wing, Goitse, Beoga, High Seas, Caladh Nua, Talisk, Arcady (sometimes).
Some of my favourite bands in there. It’s really strange how men keep outnumbering women in bands, on the top of my head amongst my favourite bands I can only name mixed bands with 2 women (Cara, Solas) where the guys still outnumber the girls.
As I type this I think of a Perfect Friction (4 vs 2), Coig (2 on 2) and The Friel Sisters (usually perform with some men).
Still, it’s much easier to name some all men bands (Chieftains, Bothy band, Planxty, Patrick’s Street, Lunasa, Moving Hearts, The Gloaming, Imar, Session A9).

It does seem like there’s a bit of male dominance and that’s weird. Especially considering there really isn’t anything to the instruments that would make them more suitable for men. I also notice the same in sessions, so it would be logical that this website is a representation of what you see on average. Why, however, I can’t tell, but I would say that there shouldn’t be a reason why it is so.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

The Bothy Band were not an all-male band….

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Stand corrected, doesn’t disregard any of the points I made. Move it to the 1+ with many men.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

… and neither were/are Dervish, The London Lasses, Cherish the Ladies, Relativity, Skara Brae, Sharon Shannon’s band and plenty more.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I think the higher male numbers in prominent bands are easily explained by the hardships of the touring life, combined with the embedded cultural role of women as mothers and housekeepers. Or at least equal wage-earners that prefer a home base, and not to be traveling all the time. Take a look at the tour schedule for a band like Lúnasa, it’s brutal! That might change in the future with a shift to more "house husbands," but it still describes the current situation for many touring bands.

That’s a bit off topic for the OP’s question though, since I assume most of us here are not professional touring musicians. As amateurs there should be equal opportunity to post on Mustard threads. For what it’s worth, the sessions in my part of the Pacific Northwest run about 50/50 male to female ratio. For session leaders, it’s about 1/3 male and 2/3 female leaders. For some reason, the female ratio is much higher in local Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton workshops I’ve attended.

I don’t know why that doesn’t translate to more female activity on a forum like this, but at least there is *some* activity. Try visiting a guitar forum.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

If this concerns you, the question should surely be "Why do so few women contribute to "thesession.org" compared to men ?" - if that is indeed the case, which I believe it is. The answer is in the hands of female contributers, nobody stopping them posting here as far as I can tell.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

This is an interesting question. Most of the sessions that I play in, including in Ireland, seem to have a fairly balanced gender distribution. But the times it is out of balance, it seems to be dominated by males. And I just looked through my fairly large Spotify playlist, and it appears to be about a 3-1 ratio of men to women (which actually really surprised me). So from that you could conclude that this music in general has a predominance of males, and that is probably the reason that this site’s forums have a predominance of males.

But the next question is why that is… It would be easy to pin that on sexism and prejudice in society, and that is almost certainly a factor, but I’m not necessarily convinced it’s the only reason. You have to ask if there are other factors that make it a less desirable hobby (or profession) for women…

As far as heated discussions and arguments on web forums go, I think society has generally taught men to be competitive. And back in the days when these forums were more contentious, I would find myself getting so worked up that I would lose my cool. I actually took about 4 months off from participating in the forums, and then decided to come back with a new attitude about how I post. I try to never say anything particularly negative toward anyone else. And if a topic starts getting argued, I may state my opinion but I generally try to stay out of the fray.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

There are loads of great female players and singers in the scottish scene. I don’t know as much about the irish one.
As regards this forum I don’t know why any individual chooses to participate. I guess most real folk I know use the site for tunes. Very few of them post anything in the discussions board.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I find it to be true of most discussion boards, online comment threads, and also of surveys, so you tell me.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

There are, Allan, but why are so many of the ‘big’ headlining bands like Manran, Skerryvore, Treacherous Orchestra, etc etc all male? Daimh went through an all-male phase but I believe that they have a female singer now, so they’re in Boyen’s +1 category.

If you want the views of a professional musicians, who actually know the industry, try this: https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10202/anni-donaldson-it-time-scotland-paid-new-piper

In the far more mundane world of amateur musicians, I’ve anecdotally found that the genders are more balanced amongst younger players. Anecdote is not data, but it at least suggests that young women now feel they have similar opportunities for learning an instrument as young men. In the past, there were arguably fewer opportunities (although plenty of women did learn to play), as it was more socially acceptable for men to be woodshedding with their hobby and going out to bars than for women to do the same.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I also don’t believe it is true that most high level players are men? Taking the average videos of comhaltas solo performances for instance I would say it is very even for whistle and fiddle players I have watched over the years.

Anyway the OP had a man bashing agenda from the start so it was clearly more of a vent rather than an honest query. ‘Us women are busy doing all the important roles in life with you petty and smallminded men are here arguing with one another’ reminds me of my mum with her 70s university feminism indoctrination.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Dr.SS, you are off topic, but since you ask, playing and making it a career are two different things. My guess, and that’s all it is, is that women are less prone to embark on so precarious a career. I don’t think the role of starving artist appeals to most women. One can speculate, but it’s really a question for women to answer from their own attitudes and experience.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I was unaware that drifting off the topic had become an indictable offense on this forum.

Arthur, if you don’t think that we live in a society where women have been systematically disempowered, I suggest you open your mind and read your mum’s ‘feminism indoctrination’ texts, as well as any history book you can get your hands on.

Ailin, the article I linked to implies that some female artists would like the same opportunities to perform as male artists, but the gigs just aren’t there.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Dr Silver Spear asks " why are so many of the ‘big’ headlining bands like Manran, Skerryvore, Treacherous Orchestra, etc etc all male?"

I won’t dispute that male bands seem to dominate but there are also lots of female musicians too. As far as I’m concerned, they are usually much more interesting than the likes of those mentioned above.

It’s not necessarily all or predominantly female bands although there are a few fine examples such as The Shee, The Outside Track, The Poozies, Mairead and Anna, String Sisters, Rant etc to name but a few. Not as high profile as DSS’s examples, perhaps, but I would certainly rather go and see most of them instead.

There are also many excellent solo female fiddlers, clarsach players, and (we musn’t forget) singers. Also some are members of bands along with male musicians. For example, Blazing Fiddles is now actually a 50/50 split.

I have read the article too and agree with much of the concerns expressed. There does seem to be a tendency for festival organisers to go for a certain type of act. Usually an "In your face and work the crowd up to a frenzy" sort of outfit and the much more subtle and often musical acts tend to be sidelined whether they be male, female, or or both.

Of course, I’m not criticising the individual musicianship of these band members and many of them are also involved in other traditional projects which I tend to prefer. I’m just not a fan of the "big spectacle/event" side of things which many of the bigger festivals like to promote.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@Reverend, that’s a very good point. I try to state my opinions in the nicest way possible. I’ve never lost my temper on a forum but I’m not really prone to lose my temper anyway.
The argument that women are busier with domestic duties isn’t really relevant anymore. In fact, I could turn it around and say that it is easier to post from the home in between such domestic duties than it is in a workplace environment where there may be much less time to do non work-related Internet browsing.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Does proportion of contributions from women seem to be much different from the proportion of women at pub sessions? I guess we can only report impressions.

Based on sessions I have been to (Irish and English) it seems roughly in the same ball park, probably less than 25%. However, from festival sessions and workshops, and clips of those on youtube, I think there are probably a lot of women who do play but who don’t go to pub sessions as much as men.

I tend to agree with Ailin (if I understand him correctly) that the under-representation of women in performing bands is not that important here. I could be wrong, maybe a shortage of female ‘role models’ in performing bands is important, but it has never occurred to me that the gender of the person up on stage made much difference to people wanting to play trad or go to a session to do it.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

As far as this forum is concerned, there’s possibly an "age" element too.

The forum itself has been around a long time and there would probably have been a higher proportion of male players back then. Even in those days, some of the early posters had already been "on the scene" for several years…. No names 🙂

I might be wrong but I still think it’s generally an older crowd who come here. The young ones seem to prefer Face Book, Instagram etc etc as opposed to the more traditional/old fashioned forums such as these.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Performing musicians/bands is one thing (probably a male majority), sessions another (possible majority - but from my own experience here/there/everywhere, it’s usually 50/50), but the topic is about contributing to this very forum.

TomB-R’s theory about "woodshedding" is interesting (and a kind of paradox to the "male group" idea). Maybe there’s a grain of collecting behaviour (and cataloguing) as well, as in "collecting" tunes and expanding your repertoire (and the need to tell the world about it, haha!).

trish wrote:
"We do also sometimes favour playing in smaller invited groups at each others’ homes rather than at pub sessions."

So do I! (And some of my friends!) The majority of my latest musical interactions has been two-person "sessions".

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I admit it annoys me when someone starts a thread and someone else takes it upon themselves to take it in a different direction. It is rude and generally destroys the thread. Why not just start a new thread? I just don’t get it.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

It’s just like a conversation , it might start somewhere and drift to numerous totally different subjects . Here the focus is a bit more refined, a bit … 🙂 so we generally keep it within some reasonable bounds or the web master calls an end to it .

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I disagree, Will. Chat rooms are for conversations. If I start a thread about flute, don’t talk about fiddle unless you are making a point about flute. Being off topic is not drifting, it’s changing the subject in a manner that does not relate to what was being discussed. There is no reason for it and it is disrespectful to the op unless they do it or say it’s okay.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

It’s not off-topic if the topics are connected. Let’s say Susan’s premise is true (it probably is) — that the majority of active contributors to this forum are male. Several people in this thread then suggested that the majority of traditional music players are male, not an invalid claim by any means (who knows for sure, but quite likely), so if that’s the case, it would make sense that the majorty of session.org posters are male. That’s just the demographics. I’m also a member of horse-related forums, and those are 98% female and can get pretty contentious, so women are more than happy to use online forums like this one and get into arguments. And also, demographics. Most recreational horse owners are female.

Right, so why is there a gender gap in traditional music? Lots of reasons no doubt, but role models might be a factor. They is for other things. For something I was writing, I surveyed about 100 female climbers and mountaineers at university clubs about whether or not they felt their club was inclusive for all genders. Half said their club wasn’t (the other half said it was, so that’s good), and many of the respondents wrote that the lack of female role models in climbing in general made it hard for them to feel like it was something they should be doing, or fit in. Does that apply to traditional music? I don’t know, but I’m open to the possibility. If you go back to the Bothy Band/Planxty era, there were even fewer women recording traditional music albums, so unconsciously or consciously, it had the trappings of being male thing.

One of many factors, no doubt, but most people learning to play listen to those albums recorded by pros, and we can agree that popular artists influence what happens amongst us plebs in other ways, like the style we play, the tunes we learn. So whoever is recording and popular will no doubt affect unconscious biases as well.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Well, Ailin, you’ve challenged me on this before (taking threads off in different directions) and now you’re doing the same to Dr SS. I don’t think what I said then was irrelevant or off topic, nor do I think what Dr SS said was. Thread drift does happen sometimes, and can be interesting if you go with the flow of it.
I agree with a lot of what Johnny Jay and Boyen say about mixed gender or all-female bands, btw.
And yes, Reverend, your posts are always very well-reasoned and reasonable! Thanks.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Ailin: this thread is about numbers of males vs. females posting on thesession. You’re off topic.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

DrSpears first post on the discussion was very much a response to the OP (but possibly not what the OP expected) and the mention of the professional side was a very subordinate point that other people took up.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Well, part of the problem is that I thought Dr.SS was responding to me. Some longtime members call me Alan and although the spelling used was Allan, I didn’t realize she meant allan21. My post was right after his. Without that mistake, I wouldn’t have said what I said.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Has anyone actually analysed demographic differences in level of contribution to TheSession discussions?

I just looked at an analysis of who uses which social platform and I can only say it’s all news to me.

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/

The discussion side of TheSession reminds me of a Usenet group but without the real-time email notices. Yahoo still has thousands of their brand of Usenet communities running. Even so, I’m thinking they are all relatively invisible to the average internet traveller.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Johnny Jay = the bald headed, pot bellied, tattooed, single ear ring, and pony tail stereotype springs to mind. 😛

Hey! No need to get personal!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

On this thread 5 women have responded & 21 men.
But it’s not just how many genders post discussions. It is significant (IMHO) that the OP received
175 replies on a recent discussion. The meter is still running on this one.
Good discussion, SusanK!

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Because some men get butthurt and complain about every minor perceived transgression, while women have to deal with it all the time just because they are women. I’m sure the discussions that women participate in are infinitely more interesting than the whining manifestos with 300 responses.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I don’t see how a number of random contributors to one discussion on a small (if influential) website would ever mirror the gender balance in society, a secret society or another random session somewhere on the planet.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Yes, allan(w/2 ls) we need more data, less speculation.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

When I joined the forum, there were quite a few very active female members.

The great Zina Lee was the most prolific poster here for many years but there were others including "BB"(recently returned), Kerri, and a few more. All of them could "hold their own" in discussions with the male contingent here…. The Lligs, Dannys, Dows, and so on all of whom could be far more fierce than some of the "pussy cats" we have on the forum today. 🙂

We also had the company of the one and only Tanya Lee Terahoshi for a short while. Happy days. 😛

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

" If you happen to drop into my session at the (uuuuhhh…) O’Malley Guiness Emporium in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala come on up and introduce yourself! I’m the four and a half foot tall pygmy fiddler in the buttless chaps." ~ the inimitable Kerri Coombs
;)

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

It may be a coincidence that the majority of contributors on this thread are not female. It may be the luck
of the draw that some of the male responses are defensive; even derisive ~ ‘0 to feminist propaganda’.
It may be considered acceptable to explicitly suggest women need to become more active contributors
*because* no one here is restricting them from doing more.
Or [maybe] there is an implicit bias which tends to influence which members contribute &
how prolific individual members become.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I think this is a good place to begin to address implicit & institutional gender bias & discrimination;
https://www.fairple.com/mission-statement

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Or maybe we’re all busy playing tunes and not chatting on an Internet forum! Just a thought ;)

To answer SusanK’s question, I think the Session is a reflection only of the Internet community that has formed around those who are more active on it. Like any other Internet forum, some people are gonna post more and get more attention than others and become defacto top members and/or community leaders. Seems like most of them are men. It really is not representative of the music community at large and, as lovely and interesting as these conversations can be, they can become a bit of an echo chamber. Like Johnny Jay has said, age is another factor in who uses these forums. I know for my Trad related Internet community I am much more active on Facebook and Instagram than I am on here as many of my musical friends are more active on there. And while Facebook has its own problems, it’s a lot easier to keep track of friends, sessions, concerts and events there than here.

And on a personal level, the reason why I don’t engage in the philosophical comments in the Session is I don’t need to hear internet strangers presuming my life consists of “feminist propaganda” and “domestic duties”. I don’t need it in my music. Thankfully my real life friends do not have the same attitudes, and I am very thankful for that. If I’m going to engage on these forums, it’s to help those that are seeking advice with an open mind just like I was when I first started off in the music.

Cheers,

Melany

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I hear you, Melany.
"And while Facebook has its own problems, it’s a lot easier to keep track of friends, sessions, concerts and events there than here." Right about Facebook’s (et. al. ~ social media) issues. Though your salient point is a valid contrast to the Mustard’s method. The forum and the tune abcs/recordings are central to the function here.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

AB: Your point about the tunebooks, ABCs and recordings is why I’m here as well. I especially love reading the comments in the tunes and recording sections and you get some interesting stories and useful links there, even if they are 15 years old!

Anyways, carry on with the topic at hand!

Cheers,

Melany

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

As for "domestic duties" it seems a little mid 20th century to assume that women are shackled by domestic duties and that’s what keeps them from participating here. I’ve no domestic duties whatsoever, run me own business, and when I’m not playing trad music enjoy a pint and watching football. Welcome to the 21st century!

Finally regarding not enough female role models - I’m a banjo and mandolin player and my role models are: Angela Usher, Angelina Carberry, Pauline Connelly, Theresa O’Grady and Marla Fibish.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Yes, but are you female?

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@AB
Fair point that you mention that many of the OP’s threads get lots of comments. But what is it that you think that says about her though? That she knows how to start popular topics? That she enjoys watching conversations unfold?
That’s a very interesting point that many of you make, that you are here for the tunes and recordings but don’t like joining in discussions that deal with debates. I’m also here mainly for the former reason, but feel the latter is an added bonus to being here.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

One possible consideration - and, if I recall correctly, this was brought up by Pauline Conneely in a discussion at a workshop that she was leading a couple of years ago - is that women were saddled with child rearing and domestic chores and didn’t have time for music. That may account for the gender discrepancy. Not to imply in any way that it’s right. And I suspect that many women (based on my personal experience) seem to be less inclined to pontificate and get into silly arguments online.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@meself- yes I am female, left that bit out, thanks for reminding me!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Yeah, I know what you mean - apparently I need to be frequently reminded I’m male - at least, I’m always hearing: Be a man! Man up! Are you a man or a mouse?, etc.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"women were saddled with child rearing and domestic chores and didn’t have time for music."

Even if this were true, it could easily be asserted that men were also too busy with aspects of their lives to have time for music either. For instance, the gardening, DIY….decorating, putting up shelves, and all the other nonsense which men are supposed to do.
Also many men share child/domestic duties or, in some cases, might even have to do it all themselves. Most of us know how to work a dish washer and do the vacuuming too.

There’s also the "day job" but, of course, both men and women go out to work these days as we know.

I do think there’s a period in the lives of most people when they are very busy and/or distracted. They have less time to get involved with music unless it’s their career. However, many will return to it (Or even start) when their children have grown up or "fled the nest", on retirement etc.
However, I don’t agree that "life" in general gets in the way of things any more for women than men. In some cases, perhaps, but everybody’s circumstances differ.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

***Historically*** women were less likely to take up instruments because of domestic/child rearing/gender roles. No one is going to argue that there was anything like gender parity amongst trad players (or anywhere else) in the first half of the 20th century. That’s probably what Pauline Coneely meant as well. The modern man shares child rearing duties, vacuums the house, and makes a great curry, but probably not his 1930s counterpart. Yes, there were a few female players of that era, but not many. Nor were the bands of the folk revival close to the ballpark of 50/50. That was around the time of the women’s lib movement, but as the majority of players had been historically male for a couple hundred years, it took a while for that ship to start turning. That was the point being made. It’s still not perfect, but it’s made huge strides forward.

As far as internet behaviour goes, I reiterate my point about equestrian message boards. Majority female, reflecting the demographic of horse owners, and horse people are contentious and terribly opinionated (in meatspace too, unfortunately). If Susan doesn’t think women like the ‘to-and-fro’ of an argument on the ‘net, I can send her some links, lol!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Yes, I won’t disagree that this was the case in the past when "a woman’s place was(supposedly) in the home". Of course, even then , many women still went out to work. Sometimes through choice but, more often, out of necessity.

I’d imagine that some of them might have chosen to play music at home which is possibly a reason instruments such as the harp, piano, etc have always been more associated with women rather than men. Also, there was and is a greater tendency for women to want to join choirs etc. This could be because it was deemed more socially acceptable to attend various church groups, WRI gatherings etc than going down to the local pub.
However, we would probably need another discussion or two to address the above.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I don’t know if it has any bearing on the matter, but none of the forums to which I have contributed, have or had many female posters. Consequently, I don’t believe male opinions on that point are particularly relevant.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@Fidele Barnia The OP adressed the question to forum members, knowing that the majority of those who participate are male. One could argue, with equal lack of logic, that the women who do post here are not representative of those who do not, and so their opinions on the point are also irrelevant.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Gender stereotyping unrelated to the activity in question can cause bias. Maybe fewer women play trad because the influence of parents, teachers, peers or whoever leads to more of them singing in choirs, riding horses, doing decorative embroidery or whatever. Activities are not mutually exclusive but there are only so many hours in the day.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

In the urban Ontario neighbourhood I grew up in, many homes had pianos - which, as much as they were played, were played mainly by girls and women. More girls took music lessons. School bands and orchestras were, as I recall, at least 50/50 male/female. Most grown men did not play any instrument, or sing much. Some boys of my generation learned, often on their own, to play guitar or drums; the rock bands that emerged were male-dominated.

Meanwhile, when we’d go back to the Maritimes, the prominent fiddlers tended to be male, the piano-accompanists female, but there was no shortage of decent female fiddlers. Now, the female top-notch fiddlers seem to outnumber the male.

All of which is to say, that as I recall the bad old days of fifty-sixty years ago, there were more women than men playing music generally - in the non-professional realm. Trad specifically? I don’t know.

(Off-topic, I know, but following the direction of the conversation).

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I also, have noticed that it seems to be that the majority of posts are put up by the XY gender.
In my mind, I feel that some of it may very well have something to do with ego.
Not totally, but certainly an influencing factor.
My experience leads me to believe that the XX gender doesn’t have as great a desire to ‘sprout opinions’ or get involved with superfluous discussion just for the sake of it. Other priorities in life matter more.
Just an observation. I may be totally wrong.

As for on topic!
Well….. Years ago I used to think that I was indecisive.
But now?….. I just can’t make up my mind! 🙂

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Mainly I don’t post due to general unpleasantness of the Internet as evidenced above

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

What Fred Sleator said: this rings a bell with me, and tallies with what I said higher up the thread: "And I suspect that many women (based on my personal experience) seem to be less inclined to pontificate and get into silly arguments online." Pontificate is a great word , and yes, people do do it on forums!

I don’t want to get tangled up in any arguments about gender stereo-typing, but I worked in a profession which was, in those days, dominated by males (not so now). Of our intake on our course at Uni only 10% were female (and the Dean was heard to say that if he could have his way, it would have only been 5%!) So "us/we females" got a hard time from some of our contemporaries and tutors and learned to stand up for ourselves. "Give as good as you get" (but also know when to back down - not an admission of defeat - but just to take the wind out of any "flamers" sails!) And I did my bit of child-rearing, and yes, my musical and social life did have to come secondary to my children’s needs for some years, although I continued to work part-time through most of their early years, and participate in various local activities, musical and otherwise. The two of them have grown up to be lovely adults, of whom I’m proud.
So maybe that’s why I am one of the (apparent) minority of women who post on such forums: Ok, I’ll admit, I’m now retired and maybe spend too much time on computer, but I have also learned an enormous amount from the various forums I’ve been involved with, for which I’m very grateful, hoovering up other people’s vast funds (founts) 0f knowledge. I’ve made real life friends through such forums too (even before Facebook came along). And if not all threads are magic sources of information, they can be fun to read, or have a bit of light-hearted banter now and then, and even enjoy the occasional thread drift…..

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I want to thank some of the women who have recently contributed to this website. Sorry to anyone I
have missed, forgotten, left out or otherwise neglected.

Thank you SusanK, Vickie Grey, Anna Sellars, DrSilverSpear, trish santer, melmo, jcawley, triplet upstairs, JWiseman, violinjenn, sbhikes, bb, zina lee (posted December 2018), Michelle Mc, catty, Bluestocking,
tradgirl, Fiddle Aunt, reelsweet, oboemeg, SarahC… I’m not sure everyone is female. Please let me know
if I am mistaken about your gender.

I also want to thank all the women who were active before. Thank you!

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

This is a drift.
I hope a few of you are willing to listen to the following video.
This may be completely irrelevant to your local session.
This is not for irresponsible people; this is for the good guys.
This is for anyone who thinks he doesn’t have all the answers, yet.
This is Tarana Burke talking about a movement.
You might like what she has to say.
You may feel uncomfortable.
https://youtu.be/DES2ZTJpK7c

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@AB That isn’t a drift, it’s an avalanche.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I really doubt it’s relevant in this particular discussion as well, though an interesting video.

Funny thing, in the Netherlands in sessions, I’d say for the sessions I go to 75-100% is male. However if I go to a workshop weekend the ratio is much closer to 50/50 and perhaps even more women.
I once asked a fellow musician why I never see her in sessions but I do see her participating in workshops. Her answer was along the lines that she never has time to practice, feels guilty and therefore "unworthy" to go to the sessions. She’s an amazing musician.
I asked why she never practices what she loves doing and she told me that there are so many aspects that she already needs to excel at, and expectations upon her, that there’s no time left for hobby.

No clue if the above is in any way representative for people that don’t come to sessions or even thesession.org.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I don’t think that video is very helpful but then again I don’t know who Tarana Burke is, who she represents or the context of the interview.
There’s little point in throwing irrelevant stuff into discussions.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

DrSilverspear : my gender biases always take over. I’m a creature of habit.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

The thing is, a long discussion like this shows everyone up in their true colours eventually. Sort of, give a man enough rope and he will hang himself: if a discussion goes on long enough, people will allow you to form a good picture of who they are. And often enough it’s the picture of someone you wouldn’t want to go on a camping holiday with.

I read all the comments in a thread like this and despite my urging myself to be charitable I end up making judgments about the people who write them. Oh, wait… that means people are making judgments about me based on what I see as my [putting things straight | sharing my hard-earned wisdom | asserting my sensible view of the world | being a "good guy" (blech) | etc. ], but what others may well perceive as being the words of someone not welcome in their tent.

Now this realisation is a strong disincentive to posting anything other than short helpful comments. Could it be that women are more reluctant to expose themselves to judgment? I feel it would benefit everybody if some of the non-women showed a measure of such reluctance, at any rate. Cheers!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I would be reluctant to go on a camping holiday with someone who had not been sufficiently free with their opinions for me to feel that we would get on OK.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I would be reluctant to go on a camping holiday.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

When Dr.SilverSpear mentioned that women on equestrian sites were more than up for verbal sparring it put me in mind of women in dog training and behavior (my line of work and a field that also has a high proportion of women working in it), let me tell you, I know gals that would happily start a fight in a phone box on many of the dog training forums!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Boyn : re girl musician, she must practise else how would she be so good. Perhaps like me she plays a lot on her own and gets really good that way. Sometimes a session can feel a bit intimidating if some virtuoso players (generally male) are held in awe and the likes of me know they can never compete.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Thanks for listening. If you have never heard the speaker (Tarana Burke) it might help to see if she has anything on Wikipedia.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Why don’t you just tell us why we should bother listening to her?

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

You do not need to do anything you do not want to, meself. Nobody does.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I don’t use Wikipedia. I can make stuff up myself.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

They do too.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Never heard of Tanara Burke either, but looked her up. Me too!

Thanks to AB for his kind "Toast tae the Lassies"!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I’m very sorry that some members may not relish going on a camping holiday with me.

Actually, there are a lot of people with whom I wouldn’t go on holiday but I’d still enjoy a tune with them down at the local pub.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

The idea that there are more men than women playing trad is not true anymore, the opposite is probably true in the younger generations. Nor is the idea that there aren’t enough women of professional standard to be in all those male-dominated trad bands.

Though we are not strictly a ‘trad’ band or "trad orchestra", most of the members of the Irish Memory Orchestra are trad players, as well as being adept at other styles like classical and jazz.

Within our core professional group of 20 players we have a pretty even gender balance, we also have a list of on-call deputy players and most of these are female. Players are chosen on merit by the way, there’s no deliberate attempt to meet gender quotas, or indeed any other quota.

We sometimes run "Apprentice schemes" where we invite young and amateur musicians to join us to form a large orchestra. Most of these players would be trad musicians and at least 2/3rds of applicants tend to be female.

As an example, have a look at this video of our first apprentice scheme orchestra in 2013 to see the ratio of women v. men. The main fiddle section on the left was all female except for a certain Mr. Hayes at the front.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyyckI1hicU


The ‘violin’ section on the right had just two males. There is also a youth strings section of players under 16, only two of these were male. So women are really dominating the string section.

Note where the majority of men and women lie in the orchestral layout, this is a reflection of the amount of applicants we received for each section.

All the harpists are female and all the pipers are male. We received no applications from male harpists or female pipers.

Similarly the vast majority of string, wind and concertina players are female and all the people playing percussion/brass/guitar/bass are male, except for one female bassist. Again, a reflection of the applications we received.

This doesn’t really answer the question of why more men might be contributing to thesession.org, but it does give an interesting snapshot of Ireland’s gender balance across instruments, circa 2013. Seeing as there are so many young musicians in this video it would suggest the next generations of trad players will be mostly female.

There is evidence to this effect in sessions around Irish festivals involving younger people.

Perhaps younger people aren’t using thesession.org so?

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

What can we do about the problem of so few male harpists?

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@meself… I have a friend who dressed up like a girl because he couldn’t get harp gigs as a guy.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

You mean - to overlap with another thread - he put on a kilt?

(I know: the kilt/skirt never ceases to be absolutely hilarious …. )

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

(Actually, I meant to say "the kilt/skirt THING"; i.e., humour based on the similarity of the two garments).

Btw - is that your friend? He’s a looker!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

It seems to be more so in Scotland and Ireland where female harpists predominate.
At Edinburgh Harp Festival, the majority of overseas guests are usually male. The South American continent, especially.

I play the harp a bit but I’m one of the "good guys". Yes, me too. 🙂

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

IMO - not at all surprised by your numbers, especially because it’s an orchestra. Do you see the same in sessions though?

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I only post here occasionally but don’t find that I’ve developed much of a rapport with anyone in particular so I don’t end up feeling like I’m part of the discussion. I do find myself spending more time reading here when I’m playing more sessions and anecdotally fewer women are active in sessions, not necessarily because they’re disinterested in them, but because of all the usual reasons why women participate in the world differently. Workshops and master classes are structured and power is shared since you’re a customer. In a session, even with good mates, there are people around who may make me feel unsafe. I don’t go to sessions by myself very often because I want to have someone to have my back if it doesn’t go as planned and to leave with. The world has taught me that those are prudent choices. I also think I choose to spend my time with my instrument rather than on the boards. Those are just my two cents.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Just thinking out loud and throwing in a couple of more things to think about:

Does the demographic composition of people reading and posting to The Session match the demographic of people playing traditional music? Probably not

Is there something about power relationships behind some of this - for example there is a master-student model behind the way some people think traditional music should be passed between people. This is quite at odds with the more democratizing impact of methods of sharing things (such as sheet music, the internet) . It leads to some interesting tensions

My mind has jumped now to the question of why do some men who never normally cook insist on taking control of barbecues….I’ll stop now 🙂

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"taking control of barbecues…." … so … there is someone else who would like to control them?

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"Does the demographic composition of people reading and posting to The Session match the demographic of people playing traditional music? Probably not"

Not a perfect match, no. But I think it’s fair to say that just like every other special interest forum, it’s more representative than just a random sampling. Otherwise horse forums wouldn’t be predominately female, rock guitar forums wouldn’t be predominately male, and so on. The fact that any women post at all here, makes it different from other forums I’ve been on for hobbies that traditionally appeal more strongly to males, like fishing, knife collecting, barbecue.

P.S. regarding barbecue… I think there has to be a genetic component there. Something about fire, danger, and recklessness ("hold my beer, while I toss this lit match"). Recklessness is a male prerogative.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Hmm, I think the barbecue example is best not taken pressed. There are some quite smart explanations.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

IMO: "Seeing as there are so many young musicians in this video it would suggest the next generations of trad players will be mostly female.

There is evidence to this effect in sessions around Irish festivals involving younger people."



Pauline Scanlon: "*Fair **Plé has nothing to do with laying the blame at men’s doors, and everything to do with stepping back and casting a cool eye over all the factors that have led to so few women pursuing professional careers in traditional and folk music, at a time when girls possibly outnumber boys in music classes across the country. What is this precipice that leads to them disappearing once career choices have to be made?"

* ‘a coalition of women and, crucially, men too whose aim is to achieve gender balance in the production, performance, promotion and development of Irish traditional and folk music…It’s an aim that’s as broad as it is long, and one that doesn’t lend itself to easy answers.’

** ‘Plé is the Irish word for discussion, and we were very considered in our use of that word because what we are doing is initiating a discussion.’

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

My partner likes the BBQ more than I do, for sure. He’s also a chemist, so he likes things that go on fire.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Very funny, Dr.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

I don’t really care if there is a gender balance or not. People choose to do what they do or don’t do. And if fewer women contribute to ‘The Session’ discussions, then it seems to me that it is impossible to ask those who choose not to, to explain why they don’t on this forum.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

The whole FairPlé thing is relevant to the music industry from what I understand, but I wouldn’t extend it to something like theSession. Some people here in SF are responding to it by starting FairPlé sessions, but at our local at least half the sessions are dominated by women with one being openly a ‘woman’s session.’ I’m all in favor of gender equality, but I think it really only is a problem in limited theaters for trad. I can’t speak for sessions everywhere, so my comments are anecdotal and limited to the SF area.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Lewis’s Law.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"People choose to do what they do or don’t do."

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Gobby wrote:

"I don’t really care if there is a gender balance or not."

Just for the record, I *do* care.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Jeremy, I can see why, as the administrator of this site you would care about a gender imbalance, but the question that hasn’t been answered is ‘why’ this is the case, and the assumption by some posters seems to be that this is a feminist issue. And that may well be, but I stand by my response that we could only know of this if the women who don’t participate in these discussions cared to tell us why. What I mean by the fact that I don’t care is simply that to me a person is just a person, and I don’t personally care what gender they are. What if a person is transgender? Do we count them? Well I equally don’t care. People have to speak for themselves or we just can’t know, as the people we are speculating about are not here to speak. We can speculate and discuss as much as we like but we can’t provide any provable answer.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

It’s true, to get any data beyond speculation, you would need women who choose not to contribute to the discussion to contribute to the discussion.

That being said, I still maintain that it ***roughly*** correlates to the demographics in the traditional music community, at least the bit of it I’ve directly experienced, although not everywhere, and not all the time.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Agreed.

Also, although I am just surmising, the contributors here are more likely to be older(Not necessarily old) as I mentioned earlier and the percentage of males involved with traditional music were certainly higher back in the day.

Of course I’d be concerned if women felt too intimidated to post here. I’d also be unhappy if women felt that they had "too much about themselves" to want to post here and/or had better things to do.
However, there is no real evidence to support either of the above theories. At least, not as far as this site is concerned.

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Gobby, did you see my last quote from Pauline Scanlon?
"Plé is the Irish word for discussion, and we were very considered in our use of that word because what we are doing is initiating a discussion."

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Expressing appreciation!

If it’s not over the top I want to say I appreciate a few of the recent contributions on this thread (on this forum) from Dr. Silver Spear, Oboemeg & Jeremy Keith!

Cheers,
Ben

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

"Gobby, did you see my last quote from Pauline Scanlon?"
Yes Ben, and I have no disagreement with it whatsoever. I was simply pointing out that those who we are concerned about are not in the dialogue and therefore cannot inform us.

As for Doc Silver Spear’s, …."That being said, I still maintain that it ***roughly*** correlates to the demographics in the traditional music community, at least the bit of it I’ve directly experienced, although not everywhere, and not all the time"…… Well I wouldn’t want to argue with that either. I would hope however that the toxic masculinity of our awful societies is far less evident in this forum.
I try never to question the experiences expressed by women. I only ask to understand them if I don’t. Silence tells me very little. It may well point to something I suspect but I am only left guessing. In this case the silent are not here, so can’t be coaxed. One more thing:-
I respect all the female contributors on the discussion pages, and by that, in some cases, I mean that I wouldn’t like to cross swords with them (I won’t name names), and I am aware that by using such a metaphor of aggression I am displaying a rather masculinist attitude. But how do I not? I am a male. As male I would hate to think that I ever intimidate ANY woman, but remember this:- Equality doesn’t mean that we are all the same, and it may just be that it is somewhere in that where the gender imbalance of this site is explainable. In the end, those of us who are here to discuss can only learn of each other with respectful dialogue. Meanwhile, all those who women who are not here, please raise your hands!

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

This post would have been great years ago when I remember a Zena who was vaccinated
with a gramaphone needle lol . I will now slink off

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

@ Mr. Pie Eyed Piper…..The forever legendary Zina Lee is still a current member and popped in for a rare visit 4 months ago.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

A contributor of great note I wish her well

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Thanks, Gobby. Actually I was hoping to hear you are finding out about Pauline Scanlon and dig into her quote with interest. You are interested in what she has to say?

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Men? Do ye mean bad arsed lads with avant-garde ideas on the Diddley?

I’m surprised this thread is still rattling off. I think females post online in general more than men.

The reason this site is male dominated must have to do with the passive aggressive nature of some of the original posers, I mean, posters. Things have evolved thankfully yet still has a tendency to digression.

Diddley-osis affects men differently.

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Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Been out playing and listening to music for the last 3 days, mainly Scandinavian, at the Northern Streams Festival in Edinburgh. Pleased to see (some may not be…..!!??) that this thread has now reached over 120 posts. Well done, Susan K (whom I hope to meet again tomorrow.) New thread topic coming up!

Re: Why do so many more men contribute to TheSession than women?

Belated comment to Johnny Jay - I too wish the great Zina Lee would return, had noticed her though she pre-dates my membership. And to Trish, us two women should meet up again soon.