Quick quiz: How many of Billboard's top ten Christian Songs artists of the past decade were female? How many of the top ten Christian songs of the past decade were performed by females? Remarkably, the answer to both questions is zero.
Even more astonishing: Out of a full ten years of songs, a decade of tumult and change with artists and trends coming and going, 48 of the top 50 Christian songs (96 percent) were performed by males. (Billboard's song charts are "ranked by radio airplay audience impressions [from about 150 Christian radio stations] as measured by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems," according to its website.)
The only two females landed near the bottom of the chart, bookends on a patriarchal age—last year's Free to Be Me by Francesca Battistelli landed at No. 40, and 2003's More to Life by Stacie Orrico at No. 50. Meanwhile, Chris Tomlin had five of the top 50 songs, more than double the total of all the females on the chart.
Since Billboard's Christian Songs chart was created in 2003—337 weeks of existence—females held the No. 1 spot for just 11 weeks, or three percent of the time. Joy Williams and Nichole Nordeman were the first females to top the chart, in June 2005. Then another three and a half years passed before another female hit No. 1.
What's up with that? Is there a bias against women in the Christian market? Among Christian consumers? It's certainly not happening in the mainstream, where a steady stream of Mariah Careys and Beyoncés and Taylor Swifts frequently crowds out the men. So why are males so disproportionately ruling the Christian charts?
For starters, there are simply more males (including male-predominant bands) in Christian music in the first place—by at least a ...