|Country Music Hall of Fame Rotunda – Photo by Jessica Bray
Yesterday the Country Music Hall of Fame announced their 2016 inductee class. The newest members include Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis, and Fred Foster. While all three are deserving of the honor, there are some that many feel are left out. Most importantly, there has been a serious lack of females inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
If you counted each and every member, including those in a group/duo, there are 158 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Out of that 158, only 21 are females, as in only 13.29% of the membership are females.
Here are the Country Music Hall of Fame Female Members and when they were inducted:
Connie Smith 2012
Reba McEntire 2011
Jean Shephard 2011
Barbara Mandrell 2009
Emmylou Harris 2008
Dolly Parton 1999
Tammy Wynette 1998
Brenda Lee 1997
Cindy Walker 1997
Patsy Montana 1996
Jo Walker-Meador 1995
Frances Preston 1992
Felice Bryant 1991 (with husband Boudleaux)
Loretta Lynn 1988
Kitty Wells 1976
Minnie Pearl 1975
Patsy Cline 1973
Carter Family 1970 (Sara and Mother Maybelle)
It has been 4 years since a female was inducted and that was Connie Smith. There have been very long stretches in between female inductees. Kitty Wells was inducted in 1976 and then in 1988, Loretta Lynn was included 12 years later. Another long stretch was 1999 when Dolly Parton was inducted until 2008 when Emmylou Harris was included. The first members were inducted in 1961, but the first female didn’t appear until 1970 with Sara and Mother Maybelle as part of the Carter Family.
Why are women suppressed when it comes to Country Music Hall of Fame inductions? Why are the following not members yet?
Jeanie C. Riley
Patsi Bale Cox
The Coon Creek Girls
Many have blazed a trail doing things their own way, not minding what others may think or say. Many have done a lot of charity work off the stage within their own communities. They have stood strong, singing songs that they have written, and made a name for themselves, as well as gaining recognition around the world. Look at the instance of Shania Twain as compared to Garth Brooks, who is a member. Both have sold millions of records, performed sold out concerts, and went across genres, as well as across the pond internationally with their music. Yet, Garth was inducted many years prior to other deserving males who are still not inducted – Keith Whitley, Vern Gosdin, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, Hank Williams, Jr. and more.
When will we see another female inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame? It is long overdue for many of these women. Who do you feel should be in the Hall of Fame?
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.