Women who inspire through music

Happy International Women’s day!

On March 8th, women around the world celebrate their history and shine a light on women’s right. The day aims to raise awareness of injustices that women face in their day to day lives, and offers solace to those in need. The day creates a united front and allows any who identify as female, that unity and solidarity that is often hard to find.

Music is a space that is often occupied by men and for women can be a daunting and dangerous place. Here at ENRG Music and Arts we have put together a list of some women in the music industry who have inspired us by shattering hindrances that are so familiar in the music business.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift revolutionised the country music scene as a teen before venturing to the mainstream charts. Throughout her almost two-decade long career, Swift has had her story dictated by men that bought and manipulated her art in favour of profit. Her activism stretches to race, sexuality and particularly her commitment to encouraging female artists. Personally, from an early age Taylor has rationalised every emotion I felt that was deemed ‘too big’ or ‘too dramatic’ for a young girl to feel. She elevates her female fans to be strong women using her music as a platform. // Jessica Matthewson

Lily Allen

I could not create a list like this without mentioning Lily Allen. Her story is notorious and the adversity that she has faced in the industry is hideous. Allen can easily be portrayed as a British icon, but comparing her treatment to those of her male counterparts, just shows the underlying misogyny that trickles throughout the music scene. Since reading her autobiography, My Thoughts Exactly, I have learnt her story and realised the deep-rooted issues that female musicians have to face just because of their gender. Through her experience, I have learnt the vital attitude of standing my ground and fighting for my opinions. I can whole-heartedly say that Lily Allen will forever remain a hero and inspiration of mine. //Abbie Aitken

Karen Carpenter

Karen Anne Carpenter, formed part of musical duo The Carpenters. Although Carpenter has been dead for longer than what she lived, she is still an inspiration to women across the world. The talented singer suffered fatally of anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Nowadays, her legacy seems to link to her illness and how it struck her down at the peak of her career, instead of her powerful three-octave contralto voice and heartwarming songs.

Being a young woman in this day and age is tough, social standards tend to drive women to extremes. Karen Carpenter’s struggles with eating disorders allowed us in the 21st century to become more aware of anorexia and body dysmorphia. The singer who passed away in 1983, at the age of 32, still receives praise and has been named one the Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers of all time. Karen Carpenter will forever be an inspiration and a reminder of how we must treat our bodies like temples as women. // Karla Louise Hallett


Belgian singer Angèle has grown to become one of the most prominent female musicians in Europe these past few years. With her father and older brother both being established musicians within the French and Belgian music scene, Angèle has faced a lot of sexism and unjust treatment from people suggesting that she has only got to where she is because of her family and her looks. Instead of letting the misogyny stop her though, Angèle has used the negative criticism to illustrate the sexism that female musicians experience every day.   She has become a feminist icon of sorts, particularly after the release of “Balance Ton Quoi”, a song which explores sexism in the French and Belgium society. So, I suggest you start practicing your vocabulaire français because Angèle is definitely a musician who has come to stay. // Signe Loven

Kim Gordon:

Known for her work in the band Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon is an 80s and 90s alternative icon. Her persona has been noted as aloof, yet her effortless cool manner is evident in whatever she creates. Not only is Gordon an adept musician, she created the streetwear brand X-girl, that has become a staple in the fashion industry. She has also lent her hand to art and acting, and her influence can be seen in the Riot Grrrl movement. I have loved Sonic Youth for years and Kim Gordon’s memoir Girl in a Band, is one of my favourite books. Her attitude towards her gender and the role she played in allowing women to create a position for themselves in such a ruthless industry is modest, yet the outcome of her actions are immeasurable. //Abbie Aitken

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