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A Question of Equity - April 1990

Submitted by root on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 17:44

 Women in the Arts

2. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES: b) Recruitment cont.

However, given the arguments for public advertising, a remarkable number of organisa­tions, 14 (that is 20%) still used head hunting and personal recommendation when appointing their staff. This, unless women can set up an 'old girls' network will, as it always has, operate against the employment of women particularly when it comes to senior appointments.

When it came to free-lance workers 28 (that is 39%) employing organisations recruited by head hunting or personal recommendation with only 10 organisations (that is 14%) using advertising and 9 organisations (that is 13%) running open auditions. In addition amateur societies almost always selected free-lance performers and workers on the basis of personal recommendation and/or head hunting.

The situation with regard to free-lance workers needs to be set in the context of the range of free-lance workers we are discussing. They include touring theatre companies, free-lance musicians, jazz players, folk musicians, theatre directors, orchestra players, actresses and actors, technicians, researchers, consultants and so on. Traditionally many of such workers are selected on the basis of talent, previous work and appropriateness for the specific 'job' - or rather what is 'known' of these attributes to the employing agency, promoter, etc. If one is to change the employment prospects of women, including black and disabled women, within this area, then thought needs to be given to how free-lance workers are selected. This extends well beyond the question of recruitment methods; it includes for instance the artistic policies and programming practices of arts organisations.

The whole area of recruitment is one which this research only touches upon, but it is obviously an area which, despite the apparent acceptance of the principles of equal opportunities, still needs to be addressed.

c) Monitoring

I would like to think that some of the present inequities in employment practice could be solved by monitoring, so that not only would organisations have an equal opportunities policy but they could actually judge its effectiveness. However this particular piece of research does not hold out much hope in this direction, since with only minimal exceptions all the organisations which had an Equal Opportunities Policy also claimed to have a monitoring system. However it must be obvious from the figures in Table 1 that the presence of equal opportunities policies, the monitoring of them (and additionally a report on and a commitment by the major funding bodies to the black arts) have, for instance, done little to increase the number of black workers within the arts.

This is an area I address when I come to my recommendations.