The growing numbers of women in professional orchestras at every level can be traced to a single innovation that began around 1970: “blind auditions,” where competing candidates for open orchestral jobs play behind a screen. The selection committee does not know if it is hearing a man or a woman. The rapid change in the makeup of orchestras since 1970–casually visible and backed up by the numbers–is compelling evidence of the opposition women orchestral players faced before that innovation.
Fascinating article about the number of women in classical music: in orchestras, as composers, as conductors, and as soloists. Since screened auditions were put in place, the number of female musicians in orchestras has grown immensely, but where blinders aren’t used, they are still a small minority.
Source: Women In Classical Music: Some Good News, Some Bad News – Sharps & Flatirons