females who shook the alternative scene: A timeline…

Although there is a balance between the amount of male and female artists in the entire music industry, the rock and alternativemusic scene is still highly male-dominated.

As the popularity of the rock music genre grew, since it’s birth in the 1950s, a few female lead and all-female bands started to emerge from the mid 60s onwards, some (Goldie & the Gingerbreads and The Pleasure Seekers) of whom also signed to record labels.

However, it was only from the mid 70s onwards that female-fronted and all-female rock bands, like The Runaways, started to gain commercial and chart success. This was partly due to the emergence of punk culture in the 70s, with one of it’s main ideologies being gender equality, which encouraged women to participate alongside men, not only as vocalists but also as instrumentalists.
Moreover, this was almost completely missing in the metal scene which was highly male-dominated. Only in the late 70s and early 80s did an all-female heavy metal group, Girlschool, start to see success.


Still the number of successful alternative female bands had not grown since, only a few alternative bands like No Doubt and Garbage, fronted by female vocalists, Gwen Stefani and Shirley Manson, saw chart-topping success.

Now from the 2000s, there are more women-inclusive bands across the spectrum of the rock music genres, from bands like Wolf Alice, Paramore, and PVRIS, representing the alt rock and punk scene, to heavy and alt metal bands like Halestorm and Evanescence, to indie and pop rock bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, and HAIM.

There are no limits or boundaries for females in the scene, here’s to girl power.


Written by: Shirley Stephen

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