Filed under: art, business, Gender politics, theatre | Tags: Diversity, Gender Equity, Ticking boxes
Over drinks, a presenter was talking about his disappointment over the quality of the work he’d just seen. “It’s a show that ticked all the boxes,” he said, and he proceeded to name all the elements it had going for it (its cultural specificity and diversity were some of those elements.)
I realized then that this is likely how a lot of shows get booked, not for their quality, necessarily but what boxes the shows tick for their presenters. And given that each of those boxes likely represents a funder or access to grants, it is a perfectly sensible way to do things.
I’m glad that these are considerations for people presenting work. It’s important that someone is encouraging work that is culturally relevant, diverse and/or regionally driven. What I’d like to see is the addition of at least one other box to tick, I would like to see everyone add “gender equity” to their box-ticking lists.
At the conference this presenter and I were drinking at, for example, the ratio of men to women on stage was still 2 to 1 and while we saw an all male production, we did not see an all female production. We almost never do. And it seems like only strident feminists like myself ever notice. I know change comes slowly. And ultimately, we want to see the highest quality work, no matter what – but as long as you’re ticking boxes, scoring things a little higher for cultural or racial diversity, for example, why not add the same for shows that balance out the gender inequity?
If funding is driving the box-ticking, i.e., if diversity foundations are helping increase racial diversity onstage, then we need a funder to do the same for women on stage. If I were a foundation, or had the money to start one, I’d set up a fund to reward theatres that presented a substantial amount of women’s work, featuring both women on stage and off. Then the whole chain would sit up and take notice. Add that box, that gender equity box, then find a way to tick it.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment