It is no secret that gender division still plays a large part in society, and quite surprisingly, the music industry is no different.
Despite some of the most successful artists in the world being female (just look at Queen Bey), women in the industry are seriously under represented.
You may not have noticed, but even your playlists can be heavily male artists. However, Spotify listeners can now use a tool called the Smirnoff Equaliser which will provide a percentage breakdown of the number of female artists that they have listened to in the last six months. For those who find that they listen to mostly male artists, the equaliser provides listeners with an 'equalised' playlist tailored to their music tastes.
But why? Well, for a bit of backstory, earlier this year a Twitter storm was caused when Alessia Cara became the only woman to take home a major award at the Grammys, prompting the #GrammySoMale hashtag to trend worldwide.
In fact, the problem is so severe that according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, out of 600 of the most popular songs between 2012 and 2017, only 22.4 percent of artists were female, and only 12.3 percent songwriters were female.
Now, in aid of International Women's Day, Smirnoff has teamed up with Spotify for its 'Equalising Music' campaign which seeks to raise the profiles and give exposure to female artists.
The campaign first began back in 2016, with a documentary featuring a New York-based collective of female DJs, created by Smirnoff's music platform Sound Collective, who say it is committed to fostering an inclusive electronic music culture.
Last year, for International Women's Day, the brand took it the step further by announcing plans to double the number of female headliners at festivals, 2020. The initiative was spurred on by research done by Thump, which found that only 17 percent of headliners at music festivals in 2016 were women.
Along with Thump, and Vice's women-focused site Broadly, Smirnoff created a list called Top 50 Women Making Noise, featuring influential producers and DJs. From this, a number of stakeholders got involved, including Mixmag, Deltic Group (who own a number of UK nightclubs) and more, to sign a pledge to promote gender representation in the music industry.
As a result, Mixmag committed to making half of all its cover stars female DJs, and according to Smirnoff's business manager, Neil Shah, this will help the brand meet its goal of increasing women headliners at festivals.
He told the Drum: "We actively work with partners who share our vision on gender parity," he says. "We believe in bringing inclusive good times to more people, and music is something that we've been inextricably linked with for a very long time. Smirnoff's point of view on music is it's better when it's equal."
This International Women's Day, Smirnoff is taking it that extra step further by tying up with Spotify to increase the number of women featuring in our playlists.
So this is where the Smirnoff Equaliser comes in.
Neil explained how the playlist is designed to not only raise awareness of the gender gap, but to actually give listeners a way to bridge the gap.
He said: "This is really about actually empowering people to actually understand how their behaviours are subject to gender biases, and allows them to address those behaviours in a way that is natural to them."
Single ladies playlist on repeat, anyone?