The International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) is an international membership organization of women and men dedicated to fostering and encouraging the activities of women in music, particularly in the areas of musical activity such as composing, performing, and research in which gender discrimination is an historic and ongoing concern. IAWM members engage in efforts to increase the programming of music by female composers, to combat discrimination against female musicians, including as symphony orchestra members, and to include accounts of the contributions of women musicians in university music curricula and textbooks.
IAWM activities ensure that the progress women have made in every aspect of musical life will continue to flourish and multiply. Join IAWM and our 500 international members to make a difference!
History and Activities
The IAWM was formed in 1995 from the merger of three organizations that arose during the women’s rights movements of the 1970s to combat inequitable treatment of women in music: the International League of Women Composers (ILWC), founded in 1975 by Nancy Van de Vate to create and expand opportunities for women composers of music; the International Congress on Women in Music (ICWM), founded in 1979 by Jeannie Pool to form an organizational basis for women-in music conferences and meetings; and American Women Composers (AWC), Inc., founded in 1976 by Tommie Ewart Carl to promote music by American women composers.
The ILWC published the ILWC Journal and supervised various projects, including the publication of a directory of music by women, several radio series, an association with Arsis Press (which specializes in the publication of music by women) and a competition for student composers. The ICWM congresses consisted of concerts, workshops and academic papers all aimed at an international exchange of information about music by women. The AWC created a library of music scores at George Washington University, published a journal, the AWC News/Forum, and produced concerts and recordings of music by American women.
The IAWM Today
Through the efforts of its approximately 400 members, the IAWM continues the work of its parent organizations to achieve its cultural and educational mission of gender equity. The IAWM sponsors an annual Search for New Music by women. Prizes are offered in a number of categories, and the IAWM presents the winning pieces in public concert. The IAWM also sponsors the Pauline Alderman Award for musicological and journalistic works on women in music.
The Journal of the IAWM, published in two issues per year, includes research about women in music, continuing the tradition of the AWC News/Forum and the ILWC Journal. The Journal of the IAWM is a first hand resource on information of women composers and has been cited as such on research articles concerning women composers. Another journal founded by the IAWM, Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, is now handled separately by the University of Nebraska Press.
The IAWM Statement of Equity and Inclusion
IAWM is committed to equitable diversity and inclusion of the musical community. Women in Music work as performers, composers, arrangers, media artists, conductors, theorists, producers, musicologists, historians and educators. We know that a diversity of ideas, approaches, disciplines and musical styles are essential to inclusion and equity.
Achieving diversity means affirming the inclusion and involvement of a broad representation of our musical community including race, color, nationality, ethnicity and cultural background, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, disabilities, education, global geography, and religion. This effort requires commitment from board leadership and members with the understanding that the definition of diversity is constantly evolving, and achieving it is an ongoing process. Therefore IAWM pledges to:
- Promote cultural and professional musical diversity and inclusion within our board and membership
- Ensure that IAWM’s communications are welcoming to all members and potential members