Back in 1959, only three women were among the nominees during the first Annual Grammy Awards. Ella Fitzgerald became the first African American woman to win a statuette that very same night. However, ever since, most Grammy ceremonies have been preponderantly male. As James Brown used to say, it’s a man’s world — until this year.

Over 40% of winners at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards were women for the first time in history. That represents 42 categories out of 94, and most of the nominees in big categories like Record of The Year were also women.

US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift (R), winner of Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year for “Midnights,” poses with Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus of US indie group boygenius holding the Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album for “The Record”, Best Rock Song for “Not Strong Enough” and Best Rock Performance for “Not Strong Enough” during the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. Credit: Getty Images.

A first in Grammy Awards’ history

During the past years, over 90% of the nominees in Grammy Awards ceremonies have always been men. According to a study by USC, between 2013 and 2018, 90.7% of nominees were male, meaning just 9.3% were women. Correspondingly, winners were almost always men.

While artists like Taylor Swift, Adele, and Beyoncé seemed to dominate big nominations during this time, gender equality has always been conspicuous by its absence.

However, in 2024, figures inverted, and most categories had at least two women nominated. 

Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA, Lainey Wilson, Karol G, and the band boygenius were among the winners this year. Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman made historic appearances, and Celine Dion, struggling with a neurological disease, honored the stage. The in memoriam segment honored Sinéad O’Connor, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, and Tina Turner, while the iconic Kylie Minogue took home the Best Pop Dance Recording Award.

With their awards, Paramore and boygenius represented women’s talent in the rock genre, while SZA and Victoria Monét took over the R&B categories. Samara Joy and Nicole Zuraitis took over the Jazz categories, while Larkin Poe won Best Contemporary Blues Album.

For their part, Karol G, Gaby Moreno, and Natalia Lafourcade represented Latinas all over the world with their wins.

Winner Karol G, for “Mañana Será Bonito,” with trophy, at the 66th Grammy Awards. Credit: Getty Images.

When honoring men has been the norm

During the history of Grammy Awards, women nominated were most likely to be recognized for best new artist or song of the year. However, they were least likely to be up for Producer of the Year.

In the last few years, particularly in pop music, around 80% of artists across the top pop songs were male, and just over 15% were women. For bands, the gender makeup was 91.3% male (70.5% of bands were all men), and for duos, 94.9% of members were male.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, the numbers are even more imbalanced in songwriting. Credited songwriters from 2017 were 87.7% male and 12.3% female, a figure that “has barely budged” since 2012.

And while this year’s Producer of the Year went to Jack Antonoff, in his acceptance speech, he recognized his award was thanks to Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey. Antonoff praised Swift for giving him a shot when he wasn’t that big a name.

In conclusion, and if 2024 indicates anything, female talent is such that it is impossible to overlook.