This Woman’s Work: Essays on Music is a fascinating collection of essays including work by Fatima Bhutto, Anne Enright, Megan Jasper, Ottessa Moshfegh and Maggie Nelson to name a few, edited by Sinead Gleeson and Kim Gordon. It’s a collection that looks to confront the historic narrative of music and music writing being written by men, for men, and gives women the space to speak about their own musical background of those women that they respect and enjoy.
Made up of sixteen chapters of eclectic writing, whether it be from auteurs or those that work in music or acclaimed voices in literature, This Woman’s Work is a valuable profile of the work that women offer the music industry. The collection includes Anne Enright’s chapter on Laurie Anderson, Megan Jasper on her being at the beating heart of Sub Pop, Fatima Bhutto on music and dictatorship, as well as Sinead Gleeson herself on the work of film composer Wendy Carlos.
The collection transcends genres, styles, formats, and is a fantastic read for anyone wanting to have a quick overview of women working in music, in whatever capacity, the past challenges, or insight into the sheer determination of some icons.
Highlighting the dominance of men in film, music and literature, This Women’s Work would make a wonderful series of books, whereby this one has merely begun the conversation. As with this, some essays would be emboldened, enjoyed, flourish over others, but this mere spotlight on women in an industry ruled mostly by men should continue, as we hopefully begin to see a further shift in gender equality in the music industry.