July 8, 2015 marked a highlight in the history of the CSW as we crossed the pond to lead the Society for Music Analysis conference’s opening plenary session at Keele University in England. Entitled “Mind the Gap: Women in the Field of Music Analysis,” our session explored such topics as the progress of women through the (leaky) academic pipeline from undergraduate to professorial levels in the UK (Anne Hyland, Manchester University), intersections of gender and interdisciplinarity (Stefanie Acevedo, Yale University), the role of the SMT CSW in improving the status of women in music theory (Laurel Parsons, CSW Chair), and the outstanding contributions of women analysts and theorists to the field (Amanda Bayley, Bath Spa University). Renowned music theorist Janet Schmalfeldt (Tufts University) ended the panel with an eloquent and rousing response. A lively audience discussion ensued, and over the course of the conference many attendees expressed appreciation to the panel for bringing to their attention both the shocking realities many women still experience in the field. Many also shared a new determination to work toward improvements in the status of women in their own professional environments, using the work of the CSW as an example. The SMA itself is committed to addressing gender imbalance, and toward this end its recent appointments to its editorial board were 50/50 female-male.
This plenary session was the brainchild of the SMA’s Nicholas Reyland (Keele University) who invited me to put the panel together. As conference organizer, Nick cleverly placed us at the beginning of the program in a room through which every conference attendee had to pass to get out of the registration and free breakfast room. There was no escaping us! Many thanks to Nick for his invitation and his warm hospitality at the conference, and to both the SMA and SMT for their assistance with travel costs.
Laurel Parsons, Past Chair, CSW