A Question of Equity - April 1990

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

Women in the Arts.


This report is concerned with women and the presentation of women's works within the area of the subsidised arts. The statistics were collected through a postal questionnaire, with telephone follow-up; the questionnaire was sent to arts organisations (amateur and professional) and to voluntary and educational organisations which had arts staff. (Appendix 1 outlines the history of the research, Appendix 2 outlines the methodology, defines terms used within the report and lays down the parameters within which the statistics should be viewed. Ideally it should be read before this report. Appendix 3 is a copy of the questionnaire).

The overall response to the questionnaire was 62%, with the response from non-local authority professional arts organisations being 83% plus. All statistics relate to the year April 1988 to March 1989.

From the outset of the research it was recognised that women do not form a homogeneous group but are divided by age, class, race, education, whether they are disabled or not, whether they have chidren or not, and so on. Since the questionnaire was addressed to organisations it was only possible to consider those areas where organisations had the necessary information. The following report therefore looks at women in the arts in terms of race and disability; it also considers the arrangements made by organisations for women with children or other caring responsibilities, it does not however consider questions of class, education or age.

In the Tables within the report 'part-time' is taken to mean anyone working 30 hours or less per week; 'free-lance' covers anyone who is engaged or commissioned to undertake a specific task and whose contract is for nine months or less.

The figures for free-lance workers are based on a somewhat lower response than that for other workers - many organisations simply did not have the required information on their free-lance employees. For instance the figures for free-lance workers do not include the 400/500 free-lance workers employed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

However the make-up of the Philharmonic Orchestra is itself typical of, if not in some instances slightly better than, other large orchestras - the RLPO for instance with a 25% representation of women in the orchestra has a larger percentage of women players than any other major orchestra in this country. We can therefore fairly safely conclude that the vast majority of the free-lance performers will be white and some 75% will be male.

It must also be assumed that there will be some double entries for free-lance workers since the statistics were obtained from organisations and some free-lancers will have worked for more than one organisation. These points need to be borne in mind when considering the statistics on free-lance workers.