‘Put some balls on that woman’: gendered repertoires of inequality in screen composers’ careers

Fabian Cannizzo, Catherine Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This study contributes to debates about gendered career outcomes in the creative industries using data collected in interviews with Australian screen composers. We identify how gendered inequalities are legitimated through professional norms by comparing the responses of screen composers on barriers to women’s advancement. The article explores how three distinct interpretive repertoires help reproduce the gender inequality regime present in the screen composition field. These repertoires are ‘art vs. equality’, where working towards equality can be framed as antithetical to artistic ideals; ‘gendered music’, where men and women are posited as making fundamentally different types of music; and ‘confidence’, where men are framed as innately possessing certain entrepreneurial skills vital to success in the creative industries, while women both shoulder the blame for not possessing such skills and recognize the risks inherent for them in performing confidence. By focusing on repertoires, this study describes the means by which gender-based discrimination is made overt and offered justification among screen composers, posing challenges to organizations and individuals seeking to address gender inequality in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1360
Number of pages15
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • composers
  • creative industries
  • cultural industries
  • gender inequality
  • sexism

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