A Question of Equity - April 1990

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


Women in the Arts


The report stems from the work of a small group of women who in 1987 decided that there was a need to research the situation of women in the arts on Merseyside. The group, called the Women's Arts Research Support Group, operated under the auspices of Merseyside Arts who provided administrative back-up. A majority of the women worked in the arts - mainly within the subsidised sector - and they believed that women did not - indeed were not allowed to - take as full a part in the artistic life of the region as they might.

The group wanted to quantify these assumptions and also to identify probable causes for the situation, such as gaps in education and training provision, lack of recognition of women's art forms and so on.

The Research was divided into 2 phases, Phase One to provide a factual analysis of women in the arts throughout the region. Phase Two to build upon the information gathered in Phase One and to establish the reasons behind any disparity in the levels of involvement of women in the artistic life of the region.

The Brief for Phase One:

1. To look at the number of women in paid employment, both full and part-time and free-lance.

2.  To look at employment patterns in terms of art forms and the target audiences of or­ganisations.

3. To look at employment patterns according to levels of seniority using such factors as pay and length of service.

4. To look at training opportunities within organisations and their availability to all em­ployees.

5.To analyse the amount of art work by women compared with art work by men available to the public during a recent six month period.

This would include all creative work such as performances, writing, visual arts, television and radio work, work for local authorities and so on.

6. To consider all available market research in order to undertake a gender analysis of audiences at the region's major venues which should be further analysed according to art form.

As can be seen from this report the Brief has been modified in the light of what has been practical within the factors of time and money, so that the present research has limited itself to looking at the subsidised arts.

Phase One has been funded by Merseyside Arts and they will also be part funders of Phase Two. The Brief for Phase Two will be finalised in the light of this report but the Group have already decided that part of the work of Phase Two should consist of looking at strategies to respond to the situation that this report outlines.

The women within the Support Group are keen that as many women as possible should join them and anyone wanting to become a member of the group should contact them via David Hierons at Merseyside Arts.