Mudcat Café message #923573 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58358   Message #923573
Posted By: MikeofNorthumbria
01-Apr-03 - 10:46 AM
Thread Name: womens role in folk clubs
Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
Fay I'm interested by your research and might be able to help. Please drop me a PM sometime if you'd like to converse further.

Greg I was a regular at your Oxford folk club. My recollections are similar to yours, but there's a point you're missing. Before the old colleges went co-ed, the male-female ratio among Oxford University students was about 10-1. Even counting the non-university students - at the secretarial schools, nursing colleges and so forth - there was still a considerable surplus of males. (Or as we used to say, a shortage of crumpet.) It's hardly surprising that the m/f ratio in student clubs and societies was skewed. But on the other hand, all female singers (and talented ones especially) had considerable scarcity value, and got more attention for that reason.

However, my recollection of other English folk clubs during the sixties and seventies is that women were generally under-represented - as audience members, floor-singers, booked artists and organisers. Although I don't attend clubs so frequently now, recent experience of sessions and singarounds, is that women make up a noticably larger proportion in all categories. I have no theory to explain this, but here is a suggestion.

For most of us, male or female, it takes a bit of nerve to walk into a pub/club, where you know hardly anybody, introduce yourself to all and sundry, and offer to participate in a musical evening. It takes even more nerve to say "I'd like to help run this club", or "I'm a really good singer, give me a booking." In times past, many girls (and especially 'nice' girls) were raised in a way that discouraged them from pushing themselves forward. (They might even be told that it was a bad idea for them to go into pubs at all.)

But that was then. Now, women have become a lot more assertive, which I think is a very good thing. (And I have my wife's permission to say so.)