In various competitive fields I notice that women usually do not compete against men due to the skill differential. For example, in chess there are something like 500 grandmasters and only a few of them are women. Of the top 100 chess players I think only a single one is a women. In other fields the results are the same. For example in marksmanship, billiards, archery, Starcraft, bowling, etc., the results are the same.
Yet, in music at the highest level I frequently see female piano and violin soloists in concert.
This seems strange to me because I know how competitive music is. I know of one talented musician who plays the double bass and he tried out for a spot that opened in the Chicago Lyric Orchestra and there were 65 candidates auditioning for that one spot.
Are female performers traditionally "given a pass" and held to a lower standard of skill than the males? How does this work? Does the producer just say, "I want a woman as the pianist" and they only audition women? I don't have the ability to tell whether one pianist is better than another, so I can't answer this question for myself.
The reason I ask this is that when the bass player auditioned I know he played behind a curtain so the jury did not know if he was male or female. Do they do the same thing for soloists, or is the choice of soloist "political" and the identity of the candidates known?
One complicating factor is that some complain that pianist competitions are hopelessly corrupt, so it is difficult to find an objective standard of judging.
To my mind, I would guess that there should be a an objective standard aside from interpretation because you can always determine whether a note has been misplayed or not, so at a crude level I would think you could judge simply by counting errors. If pianist A makes 20 mistakes and pianist B only makes 3 mistakes on the same piece, that is an objective standard.