Brit Awards 2023: where are the female nominees?

Important points
  • Last year, the Brit Awards decided to swap out their Best Man and Best Woman categories for gender-neutral awards.
  • No women were nominated in the Artist of the Year category at the 2023 Awards.
  • Eligible artists like Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama and Florence + the Machine all missed out.
A year after winning the top category gender-neutral award, the Brit Awards have come under criticism for the lack of female nominees for the Artist of the Year award.
In 2022, the awards opted to scrap the Best Man and Best Woman categories, with Adele winning the first gender-neutral award.
“I understand why the name of this award has changed, but I really love being a woman and an artist. I’m really proud of us,” the singer said in her acceptance speech.

Now, as the industry and awards shows strive for increased inclusion and representation, are women being marginalized?

How are Brit Award nominations decided?

To qualify for the Best Artist Award, a musician must have released at least one Top 40 album or two Top 20 singles during the one-year eligibility period.

Record labels then nominated artists for nomination, with an elective academy of 1,200 people suggesting their choice for best artist.

Popular British musicians such as Dua Lipa and Adele, who have not released any new music in the past year, were not eligible.
Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, Harry Styles and Stormzy all made the shortlist for Best Artist, while artists Charli XCX, Florence + the Machine and Rina Sawayama missed out despite being eligible.
The move to remove the gendered category came after Sam Smith spoke about being disfellowshipped for identifying as non-binary.

“Music for me has always been about uniting, not dividing,” Smith wrote on Instagram in 2021 in a now-deleted post.

“I look forward to a time when awards shows can reflect the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everyone regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”

Women and female-fronted bands including Wet Leg, Nova Twins and Mimi Webb are nominated in other categories, while Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lizzo and Blackpink are all competing for the Best International Artist award.


Adele won Best Female Artist at last year’s Brit Awards. Source: Getty / CBS Photo Archive

Is this the future of awards?

The Brits isn’t the first high-profile awards show to introduce gender-neutral categories.

The Grammys went gender neutral in 2012, while the 2017 MTV Awards followed suit.

In 2021, the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards – better known as ARIAs – swapped the Best Female Artist and Best Male Artist categories for a Best Artist award.
In both cases of the ARIAs’ gender-neutral awards, the best artist winner was a man: The Kid Laroi in 2021 and Baker Boy in 2022.

At the 2022 ARIA Awards, artists and groups with a female member made up 36 percent of the nominees.

A man sings on the stage

Baker Boy won Best Artist at the 2022 ARIA Awards. Source: Getty / Alex Panting

Singer Mallrat, whose album Butterfly Blue was not nominated, was critical of the Australian music industry.

“I’m reminded that the Australian music industry, like many industries, is male-dominated,” she said.

“And in this case, men who don’t think an artist is credible unless it’s a nonchalant guy who plays guitar/rock music.”

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