Florence Welch missed out on a nomination for her new albumWIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ BECKY-HILL (https://www.flickr.com/photos/becky-sullivan/7190492744/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

The Brit Awards have come under fire for the lack of female representation in their 2023 nominations list, despite several female artists seeing critical and commercial success in the past year.

Only a third of all nominations went to women, with the most prestigious category, Artist of the Year, being exclusively male. It is unsurprising that Harry Styles, whose single “As It Was”, topped the UK charts for 10 weeks in the spring, and Stormzy, who put out his third No. 1 album This Is What I Mean in November, were nominated in this category. It is less obvious why producer Fred again.. beat established favourites with his third album Actual Life 3, which received an appropriately middling 5.9 score on Pitchfork.

“It is a stretch to say that there was not one woman deemed worthy of a nomination in the category”

Speaking to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson for the Brits responded to the criticism, saying it was “disappointing” that the Artist of the Year category was all-male, but that “we also have to recognise that 2022 saw fewer high-profile women artists in cycle with major releases”. While it is true that only 12 of the 70 artists eligible for the award were women (a statistic which suggests a deeper bias within the terms of eligibility and the wider music industry), it is a stretch to say that there was not one woman deemed worthy of a nomination in the category.

Those snubbed include Florence + the Machine (who received zero nominations, despite topping the charts with their 5th Album Dance Fever released in May) and Charli XCX (whose album Crash was ranked by The Guardian as the 4th best album of the year). Ella Henderson, Mabel and Rina Sawayama, after all releasing critically acclaimed albums this year, were also cited as potential nominees by the BBC, but saw only one nomination between the three of them (Sawayama for Best New Artist).

This is vastly different from last year’s Brits, which featured the highest number of female artists nominated since 2010, with 10 of the 15 categories being won by women, including Adele, who swept up three of the biggest awards (Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Best British Single).

Wet Leg’s eponymous album was the only Album of the Year nomination made by women. The indie duo received four out of 18 total nominations going to women or all-female groups, including Best New Artist and Group of the Year, putting them on par with Styles for having the most nominations.


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2023 marks the second year that the awards will feature gender neutral categories, amid concerns that non-binary pop singer Sam Smith would be excluded from both Female and Male Artist of the Year categories. This year Smith is nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop/R&B Act, making them the first ever non-binary artist to receive a Brits nomination.

The award show is run by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and is usually voted on by 1,200 industry experts, although this year they introduced a TikTok-based public voting system for the genre categories (Dance Act, Hip-hop/grime/rap Act, Pop/R&B Act and Rock/Alternative Act). The ceremony will take place on Saturday 11/02 and will be aired live on ITV.