Technically, since 2013 only five different women have notched No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country Airplay chart as a solo artist (Maren Morris’ recent No. 1 brings the tally up to six). But, also in 2013, Billboard introduced the Hot Country Songs, which allowed a few more songs by women to reach No. 1 status. Prior to 2013, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood notched No. 1 singles in 2012, with Swift and Underwood achieving the feat multiple times.
In 2016, 17 different men tallied No. 1 singles, with six all-male groups/duos also claiming the top spot. Of the 40 songs that went No. 1 in 2016, four male artists feature female duet partners, with two of those partners being non-country singers. In 2017, 20 different solo male artists got No. 1 singles, with five all-male groups/duo also reaching the peak. Two male artists did feature female country musicians on No. 1 tracks.
As the debate rages on about country music radio and how much women should or shouldn’t be played, it’s plain to see there’s a real issue– first with the lack of women represented on the charts and second with the quality of songs that actually reach No. 1.
Hopefully, the tide has turned with arists like Ballerini, Pearce and Morris.