A Question of Equity - April 1990

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

Women in the Arts

3. WOMEN AND THE POWER STRUCTURE: b) Management Committees cont.

The situation with regard to black members and to disabled members is equally lacking any representative base with only 2 black committee members (one male and one female and both in the same organisation) and 2 disabled committee members.

I do not have exact figures for the professional arts organisations that come within the auspices of the local authorities, but given that they were managed through local authority committees (in some cases with co-opted members) and given the present male dominance of local authorities, one can be confident that in the main they too were governed by management committees on which men were in the majority.

The situation within the amateur arts presents a very different picture.

Among the practising amateur arts groups, 27 groups had management committees, of these, 20% had a predominance of female committee members, 73% had a parity of male and female committee members and only 7% a predominance of male committee mem­bers. Over 25 % of the groups pointed out in their response that decisions were either made by the whole group or in consultation with the whole group.

Amongst the promoting amateur arts groups, 1 group no longer held committee meetings but of the others, 12% had a predominance of female committee members, 82% had a parity of membership and 6% had a predominance of male members.

Judging from the large number of women involved in the amateur arts (there were 206 female committee members over the 42 responding organisations) it can be seen that the lack of women on management committees in the world of the professional arts is not due to the fact that women do not have the time or are not prepared to sit on committees.


Up to this point I have looked at the situation of women in terms of the arts in general. Now I want to look at the differences within the various art forms.

In Table 8 below I have included under 'Combined Arts' all organisations/projects/groups which operate in more than one art form. However it must be remembered that within this area most workers will be operating within a specific art form and this could, had I had sufficient information to allocate these workers to their art form, have made a considerable difference to these particular results. For instance, representation of workers within dance - an area historically, in this country, dominated by women - will tend to be low because there is a lack of dance groups based within Merseyside.  Most visiting dancers, both individuals and companies, operate within a 'combined arts' context and are therefore analysed under this head and are not allocated to 'dance'.