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A Century of "Shrill"

A Century of “Shrill”: How Bias in Technology Has Hurt Women’s Voices

The proliferation of AM (amplitude-modulated) radio stations in the early nineteen-twenties led to frequent signal interference, and by 1927 Congress decided to intervene by regulating the bandwidth allotted to each station. Both as a result of these limitations and advances in telephony research, most broadcasters and equipment manufacturers eventually limited their signals to a range between three hundred and three thousand four hundred hertz—a range known as “voiceband”—which was viewed as the bare minimum amount of frequency information needed to adequately transmit speech. Unfortunately, the researchers and regulators who were deciding on this range primarily took lower voices into account when doing so.

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