A call for gender equality & diversity within the cultural sector

March 8, 2021, 10:30 am

Today, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Despite considerable progress, gender disparity in the cultural and creative sectors continues to persist. Works of women artists are underrepresented in the permanent collections in Europe and the US. Auction sales are no different – female artists’ works sell with a remarkable discount compared with men’s. Women artists still face significant difficulties to fully and freely contribute their artistic vision or hold positions of responsibility in the arts and cultural sectors.

The new European Parliament Briefing shows that women’s place in arts and culture has not matched their ambitions and skills. “Women in arts and culture − Artists, not muses” highlights the weak position women held in an already precarious cultural sector. According to the paper, the pay gap can reach 30% for women musicians in Europe, while among the 10% of those working in the field of art and culture with the lowest income in France, 57 % are women. Women only account for 27% of the 1% with the highest revenues.

Women are strongly represented and even overrepresented in the CCSs, or at least in some fields of this sector. However, despite what one could think when looking at their quantitive superiority in public cultural institutions or programmes of higher education in culture management and the arts, the creative sector is far from offering equal opportunities for women and men. The barriers found in the creative sector for women are not different from those observed in other economic sectors. Women still remain underrepresented in the leadership and decision-making positions, as shown by the “Gender Inequalities in the Cultural Sector” report, published by Culture Action Europe in 2016.

The Voices of Culture platform – space for a structured dialogue between the European Commission and the cultural and creative sectors – also addressed the issue in its recent publication. “Gender Equality: Gender Balance in Cultural and Creative Sectors” brainstorming report reiterates that gender stereotypes and sexual harassment are still widely taking place, while the access of female artists to resources and to the art market is often limited. The conditions on the labour market make women artists particularly vulnerable, especially in relation to labour segregation and social rights related to pregnancy, maternity, and pensions. The report, which Culture Action Europe extensively contributed to, draws a set of recommendations towards the European Institutions to achieve a systemic change necessary to combat discrimination based on gender, including gender identities and gender expression.

Take this opportunity to re-watch the debate Culture Action Europe organized on this topic in 2017.



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