A Question of Equity - April 1990

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

Women in the Arts


The statistics which inform this report are for the year April 1988 to March 1989 and therefore the findings below are written in the past tense. However there have been no major changes or initiatives since the research was carried out and so the findings may be regarded as representative of today.

From this report it can be seen that:-

1. Employment: representation

i) In terms of employment women were reasonably well represented with 51% of all full and part-time employees being women: within this they were somewhat under-repre­sented in terms of full-time employees and somewhat over-represented in terms of part-time employees.

ii) Black women were under-represented: only 1.9% of full-time women employees and 4% of full and part-time women employees were black.

iii) Disabled women were under-represented: only 1.7% of full and part-time women employees were disabled.

2. Employment: earnings

Women may have achieved some kind of parity in terms of the numbers of women employed but they did not have any kind of parity when it came to the amount they earnt. Only 27% of women earned over £10,000 compared to 44% of men and only 5% of women earned over £15,000 compared to 20% of men.

3. Employment: managers

There was a lack of parity at senior levels. Within professional non local authority arts organisations only 30% of full-time managers were women. Women tended to be managers within small or medium scale organisations. Within the large scale arts organisations (local authority, non local authority, and educational) only 16% of managers were women.

4. Employment: art forms

Women workers were not equally present within all art forms. Within music only 27% of all workers were women and there were no black women full-time workers and only 3 black women free-lance workers.

5. Equal Opportunities: Policy and Practice

i) Over 90% of organisations had an equal opportunities policy. With only minimal exceptions all organisations with such a policy had a system for monitoring it.

ii) Only 36% of organisations provided any facilities for disabled workers - obviously as important for disabled women trying to find work as for disabled men.

iii) Less than half (47%) of all organisations made any kind of provision for workers with caring responsibilities. Such provision as was made generally consisted of flexible working hours. Only 5 organisations had access to or provided creche facilities.

iv) When recruiting staff 8% of organisations advertised in the women's press. 15% made an effort to contact disabled communities and 32% made an effort to contact black communities.

v) 20% of organisations still used head hunting or personal recommendation to recruit staff. And 39% used these methods when recruiting free-lance workers.

6. Management Committees

i) 37% of members of all management committees of professional non local authority arts organisations were women. The distribution of these members was uneven with 60% of organisations having a majority of male management committee members. This included all the large scale professional arts organisations, the very organisations which also had predominantly male managements.

ii) 10.6% of women committee members were black.

iii) Within arts educational organisations 70% of organisations had management commit­tees with a majority of male members.

iv) Only 5 organisations had disabled women members of management committees.

7. Representation of women's works.

i) The presentation of works by women, although varying from art form to art form, nevertheless followed a pattern, in that the more subsidy that was received, the more prestigious the organisation, the greater status given to an art form, the less works by women were present.

ii) Within the presentation of works from the past (which takes up the majority of money for the arts) there was either a minimal representation of works by women or none at all. The exception to this was in the area of folk music - an area which receives little subsidy - where women's works made up at least 14% of all the works presented - still in absolute terms, a marginal level of representation.

ii) Within the presentation of contemporary work:- works by women were virtually non-existent in the fields of classical music, jazz and film. In all other fields (with the exception of crafts where work by women made up the majority of works presented) about a third of all work presented was by women. However work by women tended to be presented in the less prestigious settings. In theatre for instance, the further one moved away from the main auditoria the more one found work by women.

8. Art Audiences

i) That on the basis of what data was available that audiences for the arts locally reflected national patterns. These patterns showed that the gender breakdown varied from art form to art form but that there was at least a parity between men and women and where this was not the case women formed the majority of the audience.

ii) That working class women, young women and elderly women were all under-repre­sented within art audiences. There was no evidence on the percentage of black or disabled women attending art activities.

iii) That the predominantly female art audience was fed a diet of male works.