Just how well is equality bearing up in the capital?
A recent poll of the top 100 DJs of the year featured seven women amongst its ranks. Thatís right, just seven. Out of a hundred. While DJing is still a mostly male-dominated preserve, one would hope that in a poll voted for by the general public, at least 10 women would make the list, making up 10% of the total. In a bid to redress this terrible inequality, a new trend seems to be developing in the capital in the form of women-only events, created to raise the profiles of female artists. From writerís nights at the Poetry Cafť to female DJ battles, these events aim to highlight their talents and put them on an equal playing field with their male counterparts. But will they achieve this?
So keen are some organizers to ban men from their activities that London currently benefits from film directing courses and photography walking tours just for girls. Ironically, this surge in women-only ventures is not reflected amongst the lesbian community, in particular the nightlife, as lesbian bars are few and far between compared to the abundance of male gay bars and clubs. Furthermore, many lesbian club nights operate on a monthly basis only, whereas Vauxhallís discotheques pump out house music every night of the week.
Segregating the sexes is hardly a new thing; gentlemenís clubs first started to appear in the 18th century around the West End. The purpose of these venues was not only gender-divisive, but representative of status. Attendees were upper class members of society, often with aristocratic links, and would usually become affiliated with one club or another because of their predilection in terms of politics, literature, sport, travel and motoring. There were rigid limits on numbers of members per club as well as very stiff entry requirements; despite this they became so popular that by the 1880s there were over 400 of them in London.