Gentlemen, move o’er,
We’re taking our rightful place
–Clara Wieck Schumann
When UK student Jessy McCabe realized there were no women among the 63 composers on the level A music exam syllabus, she decided to do something about it.
She contacted the publishers of the syllabus, who said, “Given that female composers were not prominent in the western classical tradition (or others for that matter), there would be very few female composers that could be included.” 
McCabe started a petition campaign, and noted that BBC Radio 3 featured programming by female composers all day on International Women’s Day. The petition got 3,300 signatures (including some top composers). 
The syllabus has now been changed to include five female composers: Clara Schumann, Rachel Portman, Kate Bush, Anoushka Shankar, and Kaija Saariaho. The works of 12 other female composers have been added to the listening selections .
She also received an apology. 
Thanks to reader Eric C. for bringing this story to my attention.
Want to learn more? See BBC Radio 3’s set of webpages, Celebrating Women Composers, which includes biographies, sound clips, playlists, and programs.
Image attribution: Drawing of Clara Schumann, artist unknown, public domain via Wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Schumann#/media/File:Clara_s.jpg