In his 1986 Grammy Award-winning song Kiss, Prince sang: “Women not girls rule my world”.
As tributes light up the internet for the late performer and songwriter — a man who the New York Times has described as being “bursting with music” — many people have taken to social media to share why Prince was so important to women.
He might have won seven Grammys, some said, but he also dedicated much of his career to celebrating women’s sexuality, and generously nurturing and championing other female artists.
“I haven’t seen anyone write about how [Prince] always surrounded himself with female musicians,”tweeted Vox.com writer David Roberts.
“Under appreciated fact about Prince: He championed women musicians throughout his career,” Selene Yeager tweeted.
“I think it needs to be said that Prince was an excellent supporter of women in rock. Look at his bands,”added Jessica Faust.
Prince ‘really respected women as artists’
Senior music writer for Fairfax Media Bernard Zuel said Prince’s support of the women around him was so significant because it was rare.
“Prince was someone who really respected women as artists, songwriters and performers — something that was certainly not a given in the 70s and 80s when he started, and still isn’t even an assumed truth now,” Mr Zuel told ABC News.
“He was a massive fan of Joni Mitchell and I suspect that must have had a massive role in how he saw women as equals and as contemporaries, and as people with whom he could work and who might bring something special to him.
“Once you recognise the quality in someone as great as Joni Mitchell, you have to see that goes beyond your sex.”
Over the years Prince nurtured and supported numerous female artists, many of whom played alongside him in his bands and went on to have successful solo careers of their own.
One of Prince’s proteges, singer, drummer and percussionist Sheila E, served as Prince’s drummer and musical director throughout the 80s, and was also a successful solo artist (and at one point his fiancee).
“I think we influenced each other,” Sheila E told TIME in 2014. “I influenced him the same way he influenced me … We mentored each other, if you want to look at it that way. That’s the good thing about Prince: you can see how he was influenced by the people around him.”
Prince wrote many award-winning songs for other women
Prince also wrote countless award-winning songs — often under a pseudonym — for other female artists including Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, The Bangles and Chaka Khan.
“He was a big factor in a lot of careers,” said Mr Zuel. “There were other people nurturing women and supporting women but it wasn’t common for someone of his prominence and talent to have such a broad interest in and support of other artists.
“[Prince] stood out for that generosity, he stood out for his willingness to share what he was doing with them.”