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For International Women's Day on March 8th, local musician Patrick Simoens invited Paul Bergman to join him for two concerts showcasing songs written by women.

"It was just an idea, and then I just kind of pulled along Paul with me, my friend Flo who played with me in Lakes & Pines, and I also assembled a string quartet," he says.

Simoens says he is inspired by female musicians like Sinéad O'Connor, Björk, and Courtney Barnett, and the concerts gave him a chance to pay tribute to them.

"I think it's important for men to appreciate women in music, of course . . . for everybody to celebrate women in music."

A portion of the proceeds was also designated for the Pembina Valley Pregnancy Care Centre, and Genesis House. Both organizations provide resources for women in the region.

"This is all for International Women's Day and it's a good thing to give back to the community," adds Simoens.

The top 100 hits, according to Billboard, are calculated by combining physical and digital sales, radio play, and online streaming counts.

At the beginning of March in 2016, 20 percent of the top 100 hits in Canada were by female musicians. About 50 percent was made up of male artists, with the remaining 30 percent being collaboration songs between men or a combination of women and men. None of the top 100 were female collaborations.

Three years later the gap between female and male influence has grown larger. Although 24 of the top 100 songs from February 26, 2019, are credited to female artists, 16 of those are from only two different women. This means approximately ten percent of the top songs are by women alone.

What has increased is the number of male artists collaborating with each other, and female artists that are simply featured on men's songs. There is only one song where two females collaborated and it entered the charts at number 92.

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