Women In Our Industry Add Incalculably To The Musical Milieu

In this business, blood, sweat and tears don’t always have a beard. In fact, sometimes, they show up in stilettos.

Since 2012, the Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN, pronounced “women”) has pursued its mission of uniting females who work in all facets of the music and audio industries. It produces events like the Women’s Music Summit, She Rocks Showcases and its flagship event, the She Rocks Awards, which takes place every year at the NAMM Show in Anaheim. All are a labor of love; each is produced with lots of blood, sweat and tears. The biggest question, though, is this: Why is it done?

The idea of starting the WiMN derived from a need to bring women together in an industry that’s seemingly overflowing with men. It was designed as a haven for women in music to exchange stories freely, to feel a sense of belonging, to discuss common topics of interest, to encourage each other and to recognize our talents. What started as a small, sisterly dream has now evolved into a name and organization that’s globally recognized within our industry.

Although we’ve made great progress in creating awareness for women, we’ve still got a long way to go to create an even playing field. How can we do this? There’s only one way: together, with both men and women uniting to make a change.

For instance, have you ever thought about what it’s like for a woman to walk through the halls of a heavily male-centric trade show? What about how we feel when we walk into a music store? Have you stopped to think about how we’re portrayed in magazines or in ad campaigns that tout the latest music gear? Things are different for us; they always have been. And, although things are, indeed, changing, the pace of change can be slow.


As women in the music industry plow our way through an ocean of men in a convention center or music store, when we spot a fellow female, we’re hit with a refreshing air of familiarity. We smile, acknowledge her presence with a confident nod and think to ourselves, “I salute you, sister; you are not alone.” It’s almost like seeing a Starbucks (the unofficial embassy of America) when traveling abroad: it evokes a feeling of home and comfort.

Conversely, when we don’t see other women in the field—or when we don’t see an accurate representation of ourselves in the media—there is an immediate disconnect. We feel like fish out of water.

How come there aren’t more women behind counters at music stores? Why aren’t there more—or any—female district sales managers? Why is it that you hardly see ads that feature women holding musical instruments? Is it that we are not welcome, or is it that the environment itself is unwelcoming? (We like to think it’s the latter.)

Some might say that we’re looking to create a “separation” by pointing out the absence of women…reinforcing a gendered perspective. On the contrary, what we’re seeking is a homogenous blend: a genderless space where there is no distinction between males and females and in which everyone is equal. As it stands today, though, the ratio of men to women in our industry is so striking that noticing the disparity is inevitable.

So, let’s get back to plowing through the ocean of men in the music industry. Imagine that you could ask every woman you run into during your odyssey to hop onto your ship as you navigate this tumultuous sea. Before you know it, you’d have one, two, 20, 500 or 1,000 women aboard. You wouldn’t be a lonely sailor anymore! And then, something amazing would happen: Men would start to jump on board, too. The power of the collective lifts everyone up, and it propels us full speed ahead!

Since the WiMN’s inception three years ago, we’ve seen a growing crew of women and men alike, all of them eager to come onboard and make a difference: a difference in the number of women joining the music workforce, a difference in how women are referred to and portrayed in music magazines, and a difference in how a woman feels when she walks into a music store.

Through the Women’s Music Summit and the many panels and workshops that we host, the WiMN has created a fun, non-intimidating environment for women to learn about songwriting, producing, the music business and more, gleaning knowledge from some of the world’s most talented people. Through the She Rocks Showcases, we’ve provided a platform for women in music, who span all genres, to display their talents in cities that range from Nashville to Boston to Los Angeles.

Through our online presence at, we are a voice for news related to women in music. We’ve conducted interviews with hundreds of women who work in the music industry, including female piano tuners, recording engineers and guitar techs. This online hub serves as a platform for future generations of women to learn about potential career opportunities in the music industry, thus creating a more diverse and healthier workforce.

And, through our flagship event, the She Rocks Awards, which takes place next month, January 22, we’ve had the privilege of shining a light on women who work tirelessly to make a difference in our industry.


Since its inception in 2013, the She Rocks Awards program has grown from an intimate breakfast in a small-capacity hall to a full-blown evening production with professional lighting, staging and TV screens.

In the words of Avedis Zildjian CEO and 2015 She Rocks Award recipient Craigie Zildjian, “Initially, I pictured the She Rocks Awards as an event for women to honor women. So, I was surprised to see all the men in the audience. It truly was a great event. One year, it was a modest breakfast; the next year, a huge ballroom with great music and an incredible vibe. The She Rocks Awards will become a NAMM tradition.”

Some of the women we’ve had the honor of awarding include industry trailblazers like Daisy Rock Girl Guitars President Tish Ciravolo; Peavey Electronics President Mary Peavey; Gretsch Company Executive Vice President and CFO Dinah Gretsch; legendary band The Bangles; multi-platinum artist Colbie Caillat; guitarist and solo artist Orianthi (who returned in 2015 as co-host); and even Robo Records CEO Rob Christie, the first-ever male recipient of a She Rocks Award.

With upcoming honorees who include trailblazing guitarist Jennifer Batten, Karmin singer Amy Heidemann, NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen, Universal Music Enterprises Senior Vice President of Public Relations Sujata Murthy, Taylor Guitars Director of Brand Communications Chalise Zolezzi, Seymour Duncan Co-Founder and CEO Cathy Carter Duncan, and many others, 2016 is already looking to be an extremely exciting year for the She Rocks Awards!

However, none of this would be possible without the troops of people who believe in our cause. The Showcases, Summits and She Rocks Awards could not take place without the tremendous outpouring of industry-wide support. This includes support from men and women alike: everyone from the musical instrument manufacturers that jump onboard as sponsors and supporters, to the folks at NAMM, to our wonderful media partners who help spread the word, to the volunteers and musicians who believe in this movement and work hard to champion our vision, to the incredible musicians who volunteer their time and talents.

“I hope that [the She Rocks Awards] inspires other women: to know that you can be successful in this industry, that you don’t have to follow the crowd and that it’s OK just to be you,” said multi-platinum artist and 2015 She Rocks Award recipient Colbie Caillat.

And, although we’ve got a long way to go, we’ve also come a long way…and it’s all because of you. So, we hope you sail with us and join the 2016 She Rocks Awards on Friday, January 22, during the NAMM Show.

A rising tide, as they say, lifts all boats. Be the tide.

Pauline France is PR and Content Manager for Mad Sun Marketing and the WiMN.

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