China’s history with Gender Equality is far from being spotless.

In China women are expected to raise children, be mothers, be satisfied with the limited livelihood offered by being a stay at home mother.

I recently judged a debate in which young children, no older twelve years old, stood and pontificated to us adults about how vitally important it is that women stay at home and take care of the family.

China’s history with gender equality, again, is far from being sterling.

One area of life here that does proffer a nourishing environment for aspiring female creatives is the underground rock scene, as documented by Ceridwen Brown, drummer and one quarter of Shanghai based band Ugly Girls.

Ugly Girls are themselves a refreshing beacon of what a gender neutral band might look like, with three female members and a male. They take inspiration from a wide variety of bands and genres, although the most telling influence may come from Kathleen Hanna and her Riot Grrrl movement of the 90’s and ongoing.

Brown has recently undertaken to interview some of the more prominent female musicians in China for Tom Tom Magazine, in order to get their take on the surprisingly equal environment in which female musicians can ply their trades.

Her first interview is with Drummer Yiyi, who plays in bands such as OK Beng, Free Sex Shop and Xi’er.

China GRRRL Diaries

And for all you music buffs out there, Brown has also been kind enough to compile a playlist of songs on Bandcamp featuring the women with whom she interviews.

The playlist is currently a work in progress, as her feature with Tom Tom magazine is still ongoing, but you can purchase the album in full in the coming months as Brown completes her tour of the Chinese Underground Rock scene.

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