Mar 29, 2023 - News

Rock Hall faces renewed criticism over "sexist gatekeeping"

R&B legend Chaka Khan sings on stage.

Seven nominations but no induction for Chaka Khan. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is celebrating Women's History Month with programs centered on notable female musicians — all while being criticized for what some call a history of sexism in its induction process.

Driving the news: Rock star Courtney Love has spent recent weeks tearing into the Rock Hall on social media, and she penned an op-ed in the Guardian titled "Why are women so marginalised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?"

Why it matters: Love's opinion that the Rock Hall is a "sexist" boys club has renewed criticism that the institution fails to adequately honor women.

By the numbers: As of this year, just 61 — or 8.5% — of the Rock Hall's more than 700 inductees are women.

  • That means the vast majority of Rock Hall's voting pool — which includes all previous inductees — are men.

Meanwhile, of the 240 music industry professionals that have served on the Rock Hall's nominating committee since 1986, nearly 85% have been men, according to independent Rock Hall tracking website Future Rock Legends.

Flashback: The first Rock Hall induction ceremony in 1986 featured 16 inductees, all men, even though a number of prominent women — including Aretha Franklin, Etta James, The Supremes, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Carole King — were eligible.

The latest: Five of the 14 acts nominated for the class of 2023 feature women.

  • However, when factoring in individual band members for each act, this year's ballot features six women and 35 men.

The other side: The Rock Hall did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

What's next: The museum continues its Women's History Month programming by honoring R&B icon Chaka Khan with a sold-out event tonight and a new exhibit.

  • Though nominated seven times, Khan not yet been inducted into the Rock Hall.
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