Women conductors appear to be somewhat ‘in vogue’ with a raft of recent and high-profile appointments ( Mirga Gražinytė-Tylaas Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Xian Zhang as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, Susanna Mälkkias Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) alongside increased media coverage, awareness and debate. A number of women-only conducting masterclasses including the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Operahave also emerged in recent years, yet nevertheless the statistics on the number of women conductors – particularly those working at the upper-most echelons internationally – paint an indisputable picture. In 2016 the League of American Orchestras reported the gender distribution of music directors was 91% male and 9% female. Of the 22 highest budget US orchestras, there is just one female conductor, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Marin Alsop.

Australian conductor Carolyn Watson

Female conductors are not a new phenomenon – Antonia Brico (1902-1989) made her professional conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1930, before returning home to...