ACM Awards 2022: Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert up for top prize, but women only win 22% of the time

The 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards nominations were announced on February 10, and every category has at least one female nominee (except, of course, Male Artist of the Year and New Male Artist of the Year). That includes Entertainer of the Year, where the academy recognized zero women last year but this year nominated Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood alongside Eric Church, Luke Combs, and Chris Stapleton. But the academy has a long way to go if it wants to achieve gender parity.

The ACM Awards have given out Entertainer of the Year 51 times to date. Only 11 times has the winner been a woman. Underwood prevailed three times; she won in 2009 and 2010 in addition to her most recent victory in 2020. She’s joined on that short list by Loretta Lynn (1975), Dolly Parton (1978), Barbara Mandrell (1981), Reba McEntire (1995), Shania Twain (2000), The Chicks (2001) and Taylor Swift (2011-2012).

Underwood and Swift are the only women who have prevailed more than once. And it’s probably no coincidence that their most dominant period was during the eight years when Entertainer of the Year was decided by fans. So it seems that music listeners are more appreciative of women than their industry peers are.

You can’t win Entertainer of the Year if you’re not even nominated. In the last 11 years (2011-2021) women have accounted for just 10 out of 55 nominations in the top category (18%). It’s even worse when you narrow it down to just the last five years (2017-2021), when women earned two out of the 25 Entertainer of the Year slots (8%) — both of those times the woman nominated was Underwood.

And it’s not just Entertainer of the Year. Though there are female artists in every category, they are represented in just one of the five nominees for Duo of the Year (Maddie and Tae) two of the five nominees for Album of the Year (Carly Pearce and Miranda Lambert), one of the five nominees for Single of the Year (Underwood), and one of the five nominees for Song of the Year (Lainey Wilson). Time will tell how many of those female nominees will actually be winners. When prizes are handed out on March 7.

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