8 Times Female Country Music Stars Stood Their Ground 

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Girl power: country edition. Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris and more female country artists have inspired Us over the years.

Morris, for her part, teamed up with fellow artists Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby to form a supergroup called The Highwomen. They released their self-titled debut album in September 2019.

“We all have our own solo things going on, but I think that coming together on a project like this in a timely fashion, it just felt like the right move,” the “Girl” singer told Apple Music’s Beats 1 host Zane Lowe ahead of the release. ”I’m sure you’ve heard about this very severe lack of women representation on country radio, which we’re trying to combat with this album and this movement. I really felt like I had no choice but to join, because we needed to band together now more than ever.”

Carlile added that the group’s goal is not only to make great music, but also to help support each other.

“I think what’s gonna fix it is really good music, but also whether or not we’re willing to stand side by side and not compete with one another, hold the door open for other women, and amplify each other,” the “The Joke” songstress said. “The Highwomen movement, it sets out to do that. We hope that everybody will want to be a Highwoman.”

Several other musicians took a stand after radio host Keith Hill claimed you can’t “make ratings” and play females on the radio.

“Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad,” Hill said in 2015. “The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”

Martina McBride was one of the first women to speak out against Hill. She even designed T-Shirts that read “Tomato” and “Tomato Lover.”

Lambert, who proudly wore one of the shirts, took to Twitter, writing, “This is the biggest bunch of BULLs—t I have ever heard. I am gonna do everything in my power to support and promote female singer/songwriters in country music. Always.”

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Carrie Underwood

The American Idol alum slammed the lack of females played on country radio during a podcast interview in September 2018.


“Think about all of the little girls that are sitting at home saying ‘I want to be a country music singer,’” Underwood told host Elaina Smith. “What do you tell them? How do you look at them and say, ‘Well, just work hard, sweetie, and you can do it,’ when that’s probably not the case right now? … I see so many girls out there busting their rear ends, and so many guys out there where some new guy has a No. 1.”


She concluded: “These strong women who are super talented, that totally deserve it, are not getting the same opportunities.”

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Maren Morris

Morris has been vocal about hiring other female artists.


“At some point we have to just stop talking about it. I try to prove through action,” Morris told Harper’s Bazaar in July 2019. “Like, ‘OK, if you’re not going to play these girls, then I’m gonna bring them out on the road with me.’ Cassadee Pope’s been out. RaeLynn’s out on the road with us now. I’ve got Kassi Ashton coming out, Hailey Whitters, a lot of up and comers that deserve to be on stage. We have a female tour manager, female bass player, female manager.”

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Miranda Lambert

The “Tin Man” singer is never shy about calling out the disparity between male and female country singers on the radio.


“It’s B.S., straight up! Carrie Underwood still struggles, and that just blows my mind because she’s got a million hits and she’s Carrie Freakin’ Underwood,” Lambert told Redbook magazine in October 2017. “I tell them at the radio stations, ‘Just play one of us; it doesn’t have to be me. Then we all win.’ I’ll fight for it until I can’t no more.”

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While celebrating Ballerini’s successful No. 1 for “Miss Me More” — the first solo woman to reach the hit the top of the chart in more than a year at the time — Cam also pointed out much work there still is to do.


“I just can’t stomach anyone saying that this is a sign the tides are changing,” the “Burning House” singer wrote on Instagram at the time. “It’s literally worse than it’s ever been and nothing is being done about it. If one more person names the TINY number of overly-qualified women & two Black men on the charts and calls this a ‘Renaissance’ I will live stream myself puking.”



The Highwomen

“It is important that [country radio plays our songs]  and that women and young women have access to them,” Carlile told the Seattle Times in September 2019. “And if they don’t, it’s important that everyone watches them not do it, so that they have to do it next time for someone else. It’s most important that it changes.”

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Martina McBride

The “This One’s For The Girls” singer shared a lengthy statement on Tomato-gate via Facebook.


“Wow…..just wow. Just read this from a major country radio publication. How do you feel about this statement? I especially want to hear from the females,” she wrote in 2015. “Do you not like to hear other women singing about what you are going through as women? I’m really curious. Because to me, country music is about relating. Someone relating to what you are really going through on a day to day basis in your life. Did you girls (core female listeners) know you were being ‘assessed’ in this way? Is this how you really feel? Hmmm….”


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Jennifer Nettles

The Sugarland singer also fired back at Hill in 2015, tweeting, “Don’t worry babe. I see an opportunity here. (A) big ole vagina shaped opportunity.”


Brian Ach/Invision/AP/Shutterstock