Women in piping and drumming: equality, inclusivity, and diversity research


A study into the underrepresentation of women in Scotland’s piping and drumming scene has been launched by The National Piping Centre, in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Entitled Women in Piping and Drumming: Equality, Inclusivity, and Diversity, the six-month study is launching an online survey, designed to gain a better understanding of women’s perspectives and experiences within piping and drumming in Scotland.

The survey can be accessed here. The closing date for responses is Friday 2 June 2023.

The National Piping Centre is calling for anyone who identifies or has identified as a woman and is, or has been, involved in any aspect of piping or pipe band drumming within Scotland to take part. All participants will remain anonymous, with their answers stored securely and accessed only by the research team.

The gender barrier to taking up, and continuing with, piping and drumming within Scottish communities, particularly in high-profile areas of participation, has long been acknowledged by those working and performing in the field.

This new study aims to identify the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women. Data gathered from the survey will be analysed and compiled into a publicly available report, which will help The National Piping Centre to develop future strategies to promote equality, diversity and inclusion within piping and drumming.

Lady Oona Ivory, Chair of The National Piping Centre EDI Group, said: “As part of EDI development at The National Piping Centre, a dedicated team of women began discussions regarding women in piping and drumming. This survey is the result of these discussions. Anyone participating in the survey can be assured of complete anonymity. It will be enormously helpful to have this data to inform our inclusion strategy for women going forward. We also hope that it will be useful to the piping community and other relevant organisations.”

Helen Urquhart, Marketing & Piping Events Manager at The National Piping Centre said: “There have always been trailblazing women in the piping and drumming community. However, looking at the makeup of who is currently participating, it is clear that there is still a huge disparity in gender representation. This research aims to understand the lived experience of women who have, and currently, take part in piping and drumming activities, to learn more about the barriers to entry and to continuation and participation. The NPC will use the outcomes from this publicly available research, to develop new pathways and support systems to bring more women and girls into participating in the piping and drumming world.”

This survey has received ethical approval from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Ethics Committee, which ensures rigorous and proper ethical practices are adhered to in academic research.

The questionnaire is open to all those who identify as a woman, or have done so in the past, and have experience as a participant of the Scottish piping community. For international participants, the survey specifically asks for their experiences within Scotland.

The survey is accepting responses until Friday 2 June 2023, and can be accessed at the link below:


•Two sisters playing with the Irvine & District Pipe Band at the British Pipe Band Championships in Annan in 2010. Photo: JohnSlavin @designfolk.com / Bagpipe.news