Committee on the Status of Women

Mission Statement

The Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) promotes gender equity and feminist scholarship in areas related to music theory and serves as a repository of information about women and music. The CSW serves the Society for Music Theory in matters that are critical to all music theorists.


  • Chair: Laurel Parsons (2015)
  • Jane Clendinning (2014), Brad Osborn (2014), Rachel Lumsden (2015), Stefanie Acevedo (2016; graduate student), Wendy Lee (2016)


  • Monitors and advocates for compliance with practices that promote gender equity, both within the Society and in the field of music theory in general.
  • Sponsors a special session at the Annual Meeting.
  • Holds a no-host luncheon at the Annual Meeting to discuss matters that relate to the mission of the CSW; all interested members of the SMT are invited to come to this.
  • Maintains a CSW Affiliates Facebook group web page to help members stay current on CSW activities and to get involved in related discussions and events; all interested members of the SMT are invited to join this Facebook group.
  • Maintains resources that relate to the mission of the CSW (see below).
  • Maintains an email list discussion group.
  • Maintains a blog: Women in Music Theory.

2014 Meeting Activities

At the Milwaukee conference this coming October, the CSW will present two events open to all SMT and AMS members:

  1. Friday, November 7, 8-11pm: Our evening session this year, “Negotiation and Self-Advocacy Skills for Women,” follows up on concerns discussed at last year’s CSW Brown Bag Lunch. In the first part of the evening, Rachel Lumsden (University of Oklahoma) and Stefanie Acevedo (Yale University) will speak on the impact of gender and race on academic negotiation, followed by Don Gibson (Florida State University) and Eileen M. Hayes (Towson University) on negotiation from the perspective of administrators; Áine Heneghan (University of Michigan) on her perspective as a faculty member who has been successful in negotiating on her own behalf, and Joel Phillips (Rider University) on the role of faculty unions in negotiation. Following a short break, the second half of the evening will be devoted to a speed negotiation session, where audience members will have a short time to rotate through several senior administrators, pitch a single request, and receive feedback from each of the administrators on how to improve their pitch. The roster of administrators so far includes speakers Don Gibson and Joel Phillips, Brenda Ravenscroft (Queen’s University), and Joseph N. Straus (Graduate Center, City University of New York).

    If you would like to participate in the speed negotiation session, please pre-register by sending your request to the CSW Chair at While we will attempt to accommodate as many drop-in participants as possible, by pre-registering as soon as possible you will help us to ensure that we have a sufficient number of mentors to meet the demand, and no one need so be turned away.

  2. Saturday, November 8, 12:15-1:45pm: All SMT members are welcome to join us for the Annual CSW Brown Bag Lunch. This valuable session allows us to share with you our activities over the past year and ideas for the next, but most importantly, it allows us to hear from you about the issues you feel are most pressing for women in SMT, so that we can plan future activities and resources accordingly.

Mentoring Programs

One of the CSW’s goals is to ensure as far as possible that women theorists’ rates of publication in music theory journals and presentation at music theory conferences match their relative distribution within the profession. Toward this end, the Committee offers two mentoring programs to female graduate students and junior scholars. Each program matches a mentee with a completed conference proposal or research article draft with a volunteer mid-career or senior theorist, as described below.

  • Proposal Mentoring Program

    This program pairs a female music theory graduate student or junior scholar (the mentee) with a senior music theorist (the mentor) who will provide feedback on a conference proposal for the Society for Music Theory’s annual conference, or a regional music theory conference. The mentor will then provide her or his opinion on how the mentee can strengthen the proposal’s writing style, organization, etc., to maximize the proposal’s chances of being accepted.
  • Article Mentoring Program

    This program pairs a female music theory graduate student or junior scholar (the mentee) with a senior music theorist (the mentor) who will provide feedback on a complete draft of an article intended for submission to Music Theory Spectrum, Music Theory Online, or another major theory journal. The CSW will endeavor to find a mentor whose research corresponds as closely as possible with the subject of the mentee’s article, and who has previously published her or his research in one or more of these journals. The mentor will then provide her or his opinion on how the mentee can strengthen the article’s writing style, subject matter, organization, etc., to maximize the article’s chance of being accepted, and/or may offer recommendations as to best journal “fit.”

Please note that, in accordance with Item 2 of the SMT Mentoring Policy, the opinions expressed and advice given within both of the CSW’s mentoring programs are solely those of the individual mentor and do not represent the views or actions of the Society for Music Theory.

For details on becoming a mentee or mentor, please contact the Mentoring Program administrator Rachel Lumsden.


Contact information

For questions about the CSW and its activities, please contact Laurel Parsons, CSW Chair.