Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Emma Hinchliffe here this morning. Rent the Runway moves into kids’ clothing, basketball’s elite club gets a little bigger, and country music is letting down its female artists. Have a mindful Monday.
• Let’s fix this, y’all. If you listen to Kacey Musgraves’s Golden Hour on repeat as much as I do, you might think women are thriving unencumbered in country music.
But when you look at the genre as a whole, women are still severely underrepresented by pretty much every measure imaginable. A study released on Friday by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that among the top 500 country songs between 2014 and 2018, only 16% of artists were female—or 5.2 men for every woman.
Among those top artists, male performers appeared on the charts twice as often as their female peers. Across 200 songs, only 12% of songwriters were women—and those writers were more likely to work with female performers.
A few other data points reveal some interesting double standards. The average age for a male country star was 42, while the average female artist was 29. Not one of the top nine female country stars was over the age of 40, while all but one of the men were at least that age. “[The women’s] age illuminates a sell-by date that their male counterparts do not experience,” the authors concluded.
Some of this might sound familiar. An October Elle story documented how women’s representation on country radio has actually been declining in recent years, with stars like Musgraves and Carrie Underwood weighing in on the problem. “There are so many incredible female artists who, for some reason, are not being given a chance,” Underwood said at the time.
And the report arrives on the heels of another controversy over country music’s gatekeepers, who removed the song “Old Town Road” by artist Lil Nas X from the charts because they said it did “not embrace enough elements of today’s country music”—a move many pointed to as racist. (Lil Nas X released a remix of the song featuring Billy Ray Cyrus in response.)
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative published its study ahead of the American Country Music Awards on Sunday. Musgraves won Album of the Year for Golden Hour (she was the only woman in the category), but for the second year in a row, only men were nominated for the night’s top prize of Entertainer of the Year.
Why don’t you giddy up, y’all.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Handing in her resignation. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday, as announced by President Trump on Twitter. Nielsen and Trump have clashed over the administration’s policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, including family separation—a policy Nielsen became known for defending. Her resignation leaves one fewer woman in the Trump cabinet, now down to four out of 20. Axios
• Leave the humor to Veep, veep… Since we last checked in on Joe Biden, the former vice president has taken to joking about the ongoing matter of his interactions with women. “I just want you to know. I had permission to hug Lonnie,” Biden said on stage after hugging the man who introduced him at an electrical workers construction conference. Biden also said he is “not sorry for anything that I have ever done” and has never been disrespectful intentionally. His tone-deaf responses got the SNL treatment this weekend. CNN
• Hole in one. The longtime all-male Augusta National Golf Club, known for hosting the Masters Tournament, crowned its first woman as a tournament champion this weekend. Jennifer Kupcho won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur after battling through a migraine. Golf.com
• Basketball elite. Baylor’s women’s basketball team clinched the NCAA title last night, defeating Notre Dame 82-81. The win gives the Lady Bears their third title overall, putting them in elite company: UConn and Tennessee are the only other Division I teams with three or more championships. NPR
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Karen Baynes-Dunning was named interim president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center after the civil rights organization fired its co-founder Morris Dees amid a workplace conduct scandal. Sandy Speicher was named the next CEO of IDEO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Rent the…rattle? You can already rent your wardrobe, home goods, and maternity clothes from Jennifer Hyman’s Rent the Runway—now add kids’ clothes to the list. The billion-dollar startup will offer designer kids’ clothing for special occasions as an add-on for its Unlimited subscribers, so the new service isn’t meant to replace your 2-year-old’s entire wardrobe—yet. Vox
• The new Cosmo. The New York Times goes inside the latest iteration of Cosmopolitan, where editor Jessica Pels is revamping the magazine under the influence of Instagram and analytics. Pels took over Cosmo last fall, becoming the magazine’s youngest editor in its history. New York Times
• AI loses its advisors. After Google employees protested the appointment of Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James to the company’s artificial intelligence advisory board, Google has disbanded that board altogether. “It’s become clear that in the current environment, [the committee] can’t function as we wanted,” Google said in a statement, seeming to reference both the protest over Coles James and a renewed debate over Google’s use of AI for military applications. Vox
• Japan’s choice. Tennis star Naomi Osaka is facing a looming deadline: a Japanese law that requires dual citizens to choose one passport to hold by the time they turn 22. The law isn’t widely enforced, but Osaka’s celebrity could prompt the Japanese government to take a hard line in the case, putting pressure on Osaka to give up either her Japanese or American citizenship. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
How old is 37? It depends on your gender New York Times
Netflix teases upcoming Beyoncé special Homecoming Billboard
Why do female basketball coaches wear heels? InStyle
Meet the women who built Hudson Yards Elle