More than 40 people marked International Women's Day on March 8 with a celebration of women's music at the Newcastle Resistance Centre.
The event followed a month-long poll for the "Hottest 100 songs of all time by female artists".
Poll organiser and Socialist Alliance member Katie Cherrington told the crowd that the poll was initiated as a response to Triple J's 2009 poll for the "Hottest 100 of all time", in which only two of the songs that made the list were sung by female artists, and only three of the bands had any women musicians.
"We got a great response. Clearly no one struggled to think of amazing female artists — more than 3000 votes were cast. If anything, as the person that had to tally the results, we had too many!" Cherrington told Green Left Weekly.
Aretha Franklin's 1967 song "Respect" took first position.
"The skewed results of Triple J's poll aren't the fault of the radio station. But they are indicative of the lack of recognition that women artists receive. It's just one more reminder that we are still a long way from equality between men and women", Cherrington said.
On the night, as well as a countdown of the top 10 songs, local artists Amy Vee, Joanna Leigh and Anousha Victoire performed their favourite songs from the list. Exekreye MC (aka Shannon Hall) also performed and spoke about gender politics.
The gathering was also addressed by Greens councillor for Lake Macquarie Hannah Gissane, who spoke about the Network of Women Students Australia conference being held in Newcastle in July.
"Hopefully events like this contribute in some way to combating sexism in our society", said Cherrington.
"This is about great music by women but also a whole lot more. It's one small part of the collective fight for real equality, from improving access to child care to legalising abortion to gaining pay equality."
The top 10 songs in the poll were:
1. Aretha Franklin "Respect";
2. M.I.A. "Paper Planes";
3. Portishead "Glory Box";
4. Dusty Springfield "Son of a Preacher Man";
5. Tracy Chapman "Fast Car";
6. Kate Bush "Wuthering Heights";
7. Billie Holliday "Strange Fruit";
8 Tracy Chapman "Talkin' Bout a Revolution";
9. Janis Joplin "Piece of My Heart"; and
10. Bjork "Hyper-ballad".
[For the full list of 100 songs, visit www.resistance.org.au.]