ACM Awards: Why are women so underrepresented for Entertainer of the Year?

I wrote last fall about how the CMA Awards have a woman problem — female acts woefully underrepresented in the Entertainer of the Year category — and it’s not much better when you look at the ACM Awards, which announced their 2017 nominations on Thursday, February 16. Carrie Underwood is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, and she has won that award twice before (2009-2010), but she’s the only woman represented in that lineup, which is par for the course.

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Since 2000, there has only been one year when women were in the majority: 2000, when Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill and Shania Twain were all up for the top award. Since then, there have never been more than two female nominees in any given year, and there was a significant strength of time when there were hardly any female nominees at all: from 2002 to 2008 there was only one nomination for a female act (Dixie Chicks in 2003).

It’s no wonder then that over the 46 years that the ACM Awards have given out Entertainer of the Year, female artists have only won 10 times:

1976 — Loretta Lynn
1978 — Dolly Parton
1981 — Barbara Mandrell
1995 — Reba McEntire
2000 — Shania Twain
2001 — Dixie Chicks
2009 — Carrie Underwood
2010 — Carrie Underwood
2011 — Taylor Swift
2012 — Taylor Swift

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The consecutive wins for Underwood and Swift came over the eight-year period when the winner was decided by fans, so it’s hard to say whether those races would still have had the same result if they had been decided by the academy.

This year two of the three most nominated artists are women — Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris — but neither is up for Entertainer of the Year. Instead, Underwood is joined in the top race by the year’s most nominated artist, Keith Urban, five-time nominees Florida Georgia Line, defending champ Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan. Aldean’s only other nomination this year is Male Vocalist of the Year, while Bryan has no other nominations at all.

So what gives? How can women so often have some of the best albums, best songs, best videos and be the best vocalists without being among the best entertainers?

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