Gender Inequality in Metal Music Production (Pauwke Berkers & Julian Schaap)
Three percent. That is the average share of women in metal music acts across the globe over the last forty years. In metal, it seems that women are nowhere but gender is everywhere. Why has this genre been an impenetrable fortress for female musicians and are there changes towards gender equality? Gender Inequality in Metal Music Production provides a systematic theoretical overview that helps explain this huge under-representation of women in metal music. Moreover, instead of focusing on individual scenes, this book provides a unique large-scale overview of women in global metal music. By drawing from Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives  and interview data, the authors empirically study the extent of gender inequality in metal music by comparing longitudinal trends and countries, subgenres within metal, and roles in terms of instrumentation. In addition, this book examines how the ‘double-edged sword’ – greater visibility versus not being taken seriously as a musician – affects the careers of women in metal.

Download a sample chapter or order the book here.

What reviewers say:

“Beyond the specialized field of metal music studies, this book would be useful in undergraduate courses on cultural sociology and the sociology of gender. In each chapter, the authors provide a concise and accessible overview of theoretical concepts and empirical studies that illustrate social processes that lead to gender inequality in cultural production”
Travis Beaver for Cultural Sociology

“The key contributions of this book are in its data presentation, especially the quantitative data, the authors’ development and use of the concept ‘double-edged sword’, and the book’s theoretical uniqueness”
Sarah Siltanen Hosman for Gender & Society

“The numbers are stark, and quite overwhelming, in Gender Inequality in Metal Music Production—the book’s main finding is that, on average, women make up only 3 per cent of the total global metal music production. Berkers and Schaap identify this figure through a robust methodological approach which spans online and offline contexts, quantitative and qualitative data, and engagement across multiple geographic regions. What is most significant, moreover, is the unpacking of the structural and nuanced issues which contribute to this incredibly low figure.”
Catherine Hoad for Perfect Beat

“Gender Inequality in Metal Music Production is a ground-breaking study and definitively proves what ‘we’ (the entire known universe) all already knew from anecdotal evidence and personal experience, and that is… Metal was, and still is, a male genre. Now, we have statistical proof AND some important analysis about the how and why this phenomena exists. I expect this study to be highly useful for future generations of academics and should be found in better collections, libraries and on university reading lists everywhere”
Joshua Wood for Metal-Rules

More reviews/media attention
Charlène Bénard for Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music Studies
Bart Braun for Trouw (Dutch newspaper)
Jan-Peter Herbst for Metal Music Studies
Gareth Heritage for Leisure
Peter van der Ploeg for NRC Handelsblad (Dutch newspaper)

Elvis has Finally Left the Building? Boundary Work, Whiteness and the Reception of Rock Music in Comparative Perspective (dissertation)
Music has phenomenal unifying powers. Yet, notwithstanding music’s ability to unite people, it seems to do so while following the divisions that we find in the social fabric of society – on the basis of gender or race/ethnicity, for example. This dissertation explores why this is the case, by specifically focusing on the rock music genre. Has Elvis and the whiteness and masculinity he came to represent, left the building?

Winner of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation dissertation award 2020
“The author uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods skillfully and by doing so, created a unique dataset which took the dissertation beyond narrow case-studies. In addition, the jury praised the fact that the thesis is beautifully embedded in scholarly methods and literature, whilst still being an exciting and readable book for non-specialists. A remarkable and original dissertation with great international social importance. ” Read more here.

Winner of the Best Thesis 2019 Award of the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities
“Julian Schaap’s thesis ‘Elvis has finally left the building? Boundary work, whiteness and the reception of rock music in comparative perspective’ receives the 2019 award for Best Thesis. His study is theoretically nuanced, uses multiple methods and is historically well rooted. Also almost all included case studies have been published already.” Read more here.

You can read/download the dissertation here or contact me ( for a hardcopy (as long as I have some of ‘m left of course).