Part of the initial social problem that may have been the catalyst for the inception of woman's music could have been the serious lack of women performers, musicians, and female bands in the 1960s and 1970s. Simply put, feminists at the time believed that there was very little opportunity for any type of positive image for women within popular culture or music and therefore a lack of opportunity. It was during these decades that lesbian and feminist separatists began many of the prolific female musicians.
It is understood that woman's music was developed primarily as a mode of communication for the feminist movement and lesbian musicians. It was music made for and by lesbians and feminists. One of the first singles written specifically with lesbianism as a theme was “Angry Atthis” by Maxine Feldman in 1972. A year later, one of the first feminist/lesbian bands Lavender Jane was born and comprised of Alix Dobkin, Patches Attom, and Kay Gardner. Also in 1972, The Chicago Liberation Rock Band was formed. These musicians enjoyed success through mail order sales, feminist and lesbian bookstores, and word of mouth.
The early 1970s was not only the time of the first feminist and lesbian musicians to become outspoken and perform their art, but the first woman's music record label, Olivia Records, was created. This was a collective created with the help of Meg Christian. Olivia Records successfully sold its distributions through mail order including Meg Christian’s own “I Know You Know” and “The Changer and the Changed” by Cris Williamson. These were pivotal feminist musical creations. Through the years, several other feminist and lesbian independent music labels have been created including Wise Woman/Urana by Kay Gardner, Redwood Records by Holly Near, and Righteous Babe Records by Ani DiFranco.
The implementation and distribution of woman’s music and feminist record labels brought about different networks, booking companies, promoters, and music journals. One of the most well-known women’s music journals was “Hotwire” which was formed in 1984 and distributed through 1994. Additionally, the birth of women’s music festivals only makes sense with the prevalence of women’s music. The very first woman’s music festival ever was held at Sacramento State University in 1973. Shortly thereafter, there were several including National Women’s Music Festival in Illinois, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and the Lilith Fair. The latter being perhaps one of the most commercially successful of those mentioned.