YouTube

"Hello… It's me," Adele is whispering, from the very top of the Billboard charts. The songstress's immensely popular single "Hello"—from her upcoming album 25—leapt over Drake, Bieber, and The Weeknd to snag the number one spot on the Hot 100 for the week dated November 15.

Here's the thing: She's the first woman to hold that spot in 22 weeks.

Adele's "Hello" dominated in a way that no single of the digital era ever has. It broke the Vevo record for plays in a 24-hour period, and was the most streamed song of the week. It sold, in a single week, 1.112 million digital copies, making it only the 24th single to premiere at number one in Billboard chart history.

But she's the first woman to achieve this goal in almost half a year. It's been five months and 2 weeks since a woman topped the charts—Taylor Swift, in June. Women are consistently underepresented in the Top 40. They make up fewer of the writers, fewer of the producers, and fewer of the performers who create the soundtrack of American life.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Adele may be a mammoth star, but she's one of the few women who can make a Top 40 hit.

Here is a list of every number one single in 2015:

Taylor Swift's "Blank Space," Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" featuring Bruno Mars, Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" featuring Charlie Puth, Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" featuring Kendrick Lamar, OMI's "Cheerleader," The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face," Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean," the Weeknd's "The Hills," and Adele's "Hello."

Sponsored

Broken down by gender, it looks like this:

The numbers are pretty bleak, but it gets even worse when you look at the number of weeks each gender has spent in the number one spot:

Got that? Of the 47 charted weeks this year, women have only claimed the number one spot for 3 of them.

Advertisement

Based on the data we've been collecting this year, none of this is particularly surprising. Women only made up 29% of Top 40 performers for the first half of 2015. And the numbers were even starker for Top 40 songwriters and Top 40 producers. Consistently, female performers in the Top 40 make up less than a third of the population.

At the highest level of achievement, the number one spot, the statistics are even worse. Though women have produced 20% of the songs to hit number one so far this year, they’ve only claimed the top spot for 6% of the weeks counted.

All of these numbers seem absurd when you remember that women are 50% of the population. Because female musicians are so popular and visible in the public eye, it's easy to forget what an anomaly they really are in the Top 40.

Advertisement

Adele may be one of the most popular musicians alive, but just like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Rihanna, she's facing an army of men in the Top 40—and saying hello from the other side.

Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.