Where are the Women (Inductees) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Posted on December 23, 2015 by

Several days ago music critic Evelyn McDonnell wrote a post, #RockandRollHallofShame, on her Populism blog in which she discussed the ongoing exclusion of women from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She wrote: “No women. Not one. There is not a single female in any of the five acts to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year.” In addition to this disparity between genders, there is a further omission of women of color and other minority groups, which McDonnell hopes someone will investigate further.

Without having the time to do extensive research or data mining, I decided to extract a simple list of artists inducted into the RRHF between 1986-2016 and then modify it by adding a value for gender. Wikipedia maintains a list of inductees, so I extracted the data, cleaned and modified it. I then used Tableau Public to create a tree map where you can easily see the disparity between male and female artists inducted into the hall. To break it down easily, I color-coded by gender:

  • Male artists/band members are orange
  • Female artists/band members are blue
  • Bands with both male and female artists are green

Within this visualization you can also search or facet the results by name of artist/band, inducted members (if not a solo artist), gender, as well as by year. Hover over the name of the artist/band  name to view additional information about them, such as the year they were inducted, a link to the wikipedia page, and band member names (if applicable). Visit my Tableau Public page to view the full tree map.

All of my data is available on my GitHub page and can be modified by others. The data I extracted and modified is focused on gender, but it would be interesting to add other dimensions, including race and artists/bands nominated, but not inducted. I encourage others to use the data and modify or extend it to show other disparities that were not captured in this quick data exercise.

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Response to Where are the Women (Inductees) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

  1. It’s a well done visualization, but it needs a couple data corrections.

    Dusty Springfield is a woman, but is listed as a man.

    You created a separate (green) category for inductees with both female and male members, but there are a number of such bands in the Male only (orange) category. These bands all have female members included in their induction:

    Velvet Underground
    Talking Heads
    Grateful Dead
    SLy And The Family Stone
    Jefferson Airplane
    Pretenders

    Those last two especially are well known for their female lead singers.

    The first two bands, their female members are integral musicians in the bands.

    The Family Stone was a big group with female and male participants all backing Sly’s vision.

    The Grateful Dead, their female member was certainly pretty marginal to the band, so they could probably still be treated as a pretty male-centric band. Donna did only occasional backing vocals for a little less than a third of the band’s career; and a very small handful of lead vocals during that time. They didn’t even invite her to participate in their big reunion shows this year.

  2. Jefferson Airplane should be included in the list of bands having members of both genders. Ditto, the Pretenders