Addressing gender balance in Music Technology

Manuella Blackburn


The aim of this short talk is to encourage others to consider gender balance within teaching situations, specifically with regards to uses of sources, literature, repertoire, practitioners and examples drawn from wider context to underpin theoretical learning. Some subject areas, including Music Technology, are typically male dominated, however teaching the subject does not have to propagate this stereotyped image or perspective. A healthier approach is to be inclusive of women’s work in this field - conveying the breadth of activity from women intends to alter the skewed impression of gender in this subject.

Methods I have used to address this imbalance range from the very obvious, I am a women practitioner active in the field of music technology, to the more subtle approach - consciously including works and theories from/by women within my lecturers. Music Technology textbooks and academic literature in this field unfortunately marginalises women, despite their many contributions, pioneering work and achievements - raising this issue in class is another method to educate students on issues of misrepresentation, diversity, inclusivity and gender balance. These considerations have filtered into my outreach work, concert curation, PhD examining, panel membership, keynote addresses and social media presence. By participating in these initiatives addressing misrepresentation I hope to contribute to the wave of revisionist musicology that better acknowledges women more generally in Music, setting the record straight. This long term intention seeks to inform and encourage future generations of women about viable career paths in music technology.