political/sociological question though : do you think women have a different place in electronic music than in other kind of music ? I have trouble putting away the thought that electronic music without women electronic music would totally fall apart, while in some other popular genres or classical, it seems to be a fight only to find a place to be recognized as a proper artist.
Is it a total misconception from me, or is electronic music kind of unique in this matter ?
my own personal view would be that in the deeply hierarchical areas such as Classical Music and the Academic echelon of Electronic music then the sexism will be worse.eg it seems much easier to be a female classical performer than a conductor or composer ( though nothing could stop you composing outside of the hierarchy , it’s just you wouldn’t get the recognition or the same opportunities) in other areas hopefully not so much or not so rigidly institutionally ingrained... that said, for a long time it was very hard to be a female improviser in the free music scene just as in the rock or jazz scene .. hopefully better now ... but exactly how much better?? i don’t think electronic music is unique and I personally think that many of the newer female artists that hit the headlines are not really the innovators, they just mostly have labels promoting them..promoting yrself now is a full time job, so it’s near to impossible to be serious and focussed about the music you do AND conquer the goldfish memoried interweb without a lot of help .. A LOT! so I think the real innovators, right now, of ANY gender will not come to light for a decade or two once they have a significant body of work behind them. I personally regret only ever promoting 2 female artists on my label back in the 90’s,, but it was so much harder to come across them pre internet.. and even the festivals then were very bloke orientated so you were lucky if you met anyone... it was a bit like being at an all boys grammar school!! or in fact
At the same time, though, Pauline Oliveros was able to nail a major grant award in the early 1960s based on work she'd done as one of the founding members of the SFTMC, then stayed with that when it moved to Mills College in the mid-1960s before going on to teach at UCSD.
I believe it was in one of David Toop's books that I saw an interesting point, that as a "liminal instrument", synthesizers don't have a gender bias inherent in them. We don't necessarily associate them with gender; when you think "big Moog", for example, you're just as likely to think of Wendy Carlos as you are Keith Emerson. But with other instruments, that association/stereotyping is very much there. Think about who you'd normally associate with playing a trombone, for example...or a flute.
As for academic composition, though...I've not been sure if that venue has had much in the way of validity since fleeing the U of Illinois and my doctoral work there in 1992. It's managed to become less about developing YOUR musical craft, and MUCH more about writing grant proposals and creating grad student clones of yourself once your tenure is locked in. I thought that was a load of utter bullshit, so I bailed, and as far as I can tell, nothing much has changed since then aside of a glimmer of a realization that JUST MAYBE audiences don't want to hear a bunch of serialist beancounting at this point. As a result, I don't think it's a good model for examining gender and music...because I'm not exactly sure how much it has to do with music in the first place!
Two other surprises came to mind when revisiting this: Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush. In both cases, they were early adopters of the big digital workstations from the end of the 1970s up through the mid-80s. Kate was a very early Fairlight user, and still makes ample use of her very extended Synclavier Postpro rig (even for some of the cover art for "Aerial") and should rightly be considered one of its true masters. And Laurie was using all sorts of electronic methods, including also making ample use of the Synclavier as well as looping systems using Eventide H949 and H969 units and experimental electroacoustic devices...even live, notably in "United States I - IV".
Without going political it should not be surprising that women play pioneering roles in electronic music, it's not like electronic music or music for that matter requires a special skill set that women don't have. With that said, I can imagine that the academic circles where early electronic music originated was more of a boys club than the current electronic music scene. Then again, it might be a cultural thing that makes boys congregate (on internet fora) to geek out on their toys.