Women have seen an uptick in airplay on country radio lately.

Published this week, a new study by Billboard shows that five female artists have had number-one singles on the Billboard Country Airplay chart so far this year, the most in a four-year span. 

Additionally, women have accounted for 21% of number-one songs on the chart in 2020, the highest percentage since 2006, when women made up 23% of the chart-toppers. 

Miranda LambertMaren Morris and Gabby Barrett are among the artists who have topped the charts this year — Miranda with “Bluebird,” her first solo number-one since 2014, and Maren and Gabby scoring multi-week hits with “The Bones” and “I Hope,” respectively. 

Gwen Stefani and Carly Pearce also found themselves at the top with duet partners Blake Shelton and Lee Brice. Gwen and her longtime boyfriend Blake hit number one with “Nobody but You” while Carly and Lee reached the top with “I Hope You’re Happy Now” earlier this year.  

The last time that five or more female singers had number-one hits on the Country Airplay chart was in 2016, when Carrie Underwood reigned with “Church Bells” and “Heartbeat,” while Kelsea Ballerini scored with “Dibs” and “Peter Pan.” 

Karen FairchildCassadee Pope and pop star Pink also made it to the top of the country charts alongside their male collaborators in 2016. 

The data comes in the wake of multi-year conversations surrounding the lack of airplay for female artists on country radio. 

Women saw a record high of airplay in 1998 when they accounted for 52% of number-one singles on the charts. Overall, women have accounted for 17% of all number-one singles on the Country Airplay chart since it launched in 1990.

By Cillea Houghton
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