What do you see when you go to the theatre?
Whose stories are being told?
Whose imagination fills the stage?
According to research around the world
70% of plays produced
are written by male playwrights.
Percentage of Plays by female dramatists in Equity theatres 25 - 37%
See below for various research projects from around the world.
As one of the most advanced countries in the world, in terms of female equality, one would like to think that in this 21st Century, women would have achieved parity in most areas of public and artistic life. Not so.
Recent statistics try to explain why and some new initiatives explore what might be done to achieve parity for women playwrights.
THE SANDS REPORT
Quoted from the WomenArts website:
Emily Glassberg Sands, a Princeton economics student, did her 173 page senior thesis on the status of women in theatre - Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender: An Integrated Economic Analysis of Discrimination in American Theater."
Among other things, Sands found that women write fewer than 1 in 8 shows on Broadway, and that it is harder to get plays produced if they have female protagonists.
Progress with regard to women's participation in the theatre in the United States has been both inconsistent and slow. Figures indicate that advancement has stalled or even deteriorated as a sampling of numbers from the late 1960's until the present will show.
TOWN HALL MEETING HELD MONDAY, OCT 27TH, 2008
Noted playwrights Julia Jordan, Sarah Schulman and Anna Zigler organized a Town Hall Meeting held Monday, Oct 27th, 2008 at New Dramatists in New York City between 150 or so women playwrights and prominent theatre leaders, including Neil Pepe, Oskar Eustis, Sarah Benson, Carole Rothman, Tim Sanford and Jerry Patch.
Juila Jordan spoke about discrimination against women playwrights and compared it to discrimination in other arts and fields of public endeavour where solutions have been found.
Read Julia Jordan's Speech
If you have more updated statistics or information from other countries, please
submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org
According to a report issued in the late 1970's,"Action for Women in Theatre," the total number of professional women playwrights and directors hired by regional and Off-Broadway theatres over a seven year period from 1969 to 1975 was 7%.
Nineteen years later, in the 1994-95 season, playwright representation was at 17% and directors at 19% for Off Broadway and regional theatres.
A study six years later showed an increase: According to the 2000-01 season preview in American Theatre magazine, among the 1,900 Theatre Communications Group member theatre productions, 23% of the productions were directed by women and 20% had a woman on the writing team. (It should be noted that this figure does not represent discrete authors.)
For example, Art by Yasmina Reza accounts for thirty productions and Margaret Edison' s Wit twenty-two.
Women participation in 2001-02 as listed in American Theatre magazine actually showed a decline, with directors at 16% and playwright representation at 17%, back at the 1994-95 percentages.
A study on women directors and playwrights commissioned by NYSCA in 1998 found that at Off Off Broadway theatres with total operating budgets of less than $500,000, the participation of women increases.
Production of women playwrights was at around 30% and director participation rose to over 40%.
On Broadway, not surprisingly, as money and stakes increase, percentages of women participating declines proportionately. In 1999, women wrote only 8% of all plays and only 1% of musicals.
Source: REPORT ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT?
Prepared for the New York State Council on the Arts Theatre Program by Susan Jonas and Suzanne Bennett (January 2002), and posted by The Fund for Women Artists
Playwrights Guild of Canada ( PGC)
Australian Writers Guild ( AWG) Magazine
Surveyed 10 theatres across Australia, including state theatres.QUOTE:
On the gender findings, it is disappointing to see that despite a great deal of attention being brought to the issue, in real terms we are in effect at a standstill. ....
When conflated, the statistics over the past three years show the actual ratio at 58.5/41.5.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
#WakingTheFeminists publish Research Report into lack of gender equality in Irish theatre.
An Chomhairle Ealaíon, #WakingTheFeminists commissioned groundbreaking research into the gender balance in Irish theatre.
From 2006-15. Female Authors: 28
French Organisation " Ou Sont Les Femmes? " ( Where are the women?) Collects Data to monitor gender equality in the Arts and Culture in France.
Their specific data on Theatres is troubling. Despite Government " Roadmaps" and regulations designed to rebalance gender diversity in TV and Theatre, the figures are still shockingly biased towards males, in particular, against female writers for the stage.
Read more here...
A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF GENDER EQUITY HISTORY IN THEATRE
For those not familiar with the history of campaigning and publicity surrounding the lack of equality for female dramatists in professional theatres around the world - this article by Jenny Lyn Bader makes compelling reading and is highly recommended, for its thorough but concise summary of research, reports, publications and opinions in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
Women In Theatre Journal - A Brief History of the Gender Parity Movement in Theatre by Jenny Lyn Bader