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Why are there so few female musicians in jazz?

Eboni is one of the most highly sought after and premiere jazz vocalists in Kansas City and has become a bandleader in her own right.
Courtesy of Eboni Fondren
Eboni Fondren a jazz vocalist and bandleader in Kansas City.

Kansas City jazz artists say the gender imbalance in the music world continues to be evident, specifically in their genre.

Despite many women artists at the top of the charts, the music business continues to be a male-dominated industry.

In jazz specifically, many female instrumentalists say they need to be better than their male counterparts to get gigs. Some even say certain instruments are more suited to men than women. Drums, trombone and trumpet are seen as “masculine” and the flute, clarinet and violin as “feminine.”

"Vocalists, historically, predominantly have been women but as far as band leaders, band stands, instrumentalists, it's just always been very male dominated and it still is," says Kansas City's Eboni Fondren, a vocalist and band leader who was mentored by local jazz legend Everette DeVan. "Whether it was education or the lack of encouragement for female artists to pick up an instrument, its sort of been historically perpetuated in that way."

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