What we're reading...
Here we keep an eye on what is being said about the position of women in the performing arts in the media - we collate all the articles here with a link to the original article where possible. If you think we've missed an important story, please email us at email@example.com and we will include it!
We are also busy on Twitter, tweeting interesting articles. Follow us @sphinxtheatre
Here are five common arguments against developers adding more female characters - and why they are wrong.
Keza MacDonald, The Guardian, 19th February 2014
Art+ Feminism Adds 100 Women Artists to Wikipedia in One Day
If you have ever tried to research women artists on the Internet, you know that it can be a frustrating process. Younger women artists may have websites, but many women artists from previous generations or from countries with limited Internet access cannot be found online at all. Others have very short entries that do not reflect the full scope of their work.
Art + Feminism invites women around the world to take charge of this situation by adding as many entries to Wikipedia as possible. On February 1, 2014, they staged the first-ever Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Centerin New York City. The goals of the event were to create more Wikipedia entries about women, art, feminism, and related topics and to encourage more women to add their voices to Wikipedia.
The 150 New York participants were given training about creating Wikipedia entries, free childcare, and refreshments. Experienced Wikipedia editors were paired with beginners to guide them through their first entries and cheer them on. The New York group was joined by another 500 people in 30 satellite locations in 6 countries. Together they created over 100 new Wikipedia entries focused on women and the arts.
This work is extremely important because Wikipedia is the ninth most popular site on the internet with 117 million users. According to a Pew Research Center Study, 53% of American Internet users look for information on Wikipedia, but most of the information they are finding is written by and for men. According to aWikimedia Foundation study, 9 out of 10 contributors to Wikipedia are male.
Many women's arts organizations have worked to increase the visibility of women artists online. WomenArts created our online directory of women artists, the WomenArts Network, in 2003 because we wanted to encourage women to increase their presence on the web. Any woman artist can create a free profile page on our site, and we currently have about 1,600 active profiles. We have also compiled a list of other directories of women artists. If you know of a directory that should be added to our list, please contact us.
It is important to keep adding information to our women-controlled websites, since Wikipedia has rules and a culture that will be challenging for some women artists, but we agree with the founders of Art + Feminism that we need to make sure that women artists are fully represented in this online encyclopedia that so many people are using.
Documenting women artists worldwide in all art forms is a huge task that will require input from thousands of women, but it is something that all of us can work on - either on our own or in groups. If you are looking for something to do with your friends this year on SWAN Day, this could be a great choice. If you are a teacher, this could be a great project for your students.
Art + Feminism has created some excellent Wikipedia articles to help you get started. There is an article about how to organize an edit-a-thon MeetUp group, and their Wikipedia Meet-up page has links to upcoming edit-a-thons and helpful articles about creating and editing Wikipedia listings.
Thanks so much to the organizers who came up with this idea - Siân Evans (Art Libraries Society of North America - Women and Art Special Interest Group), Jacqueline Mabey (The office of failed projects), Michael Mandiberg, Laurel Ptak (Eyebeam Fellow), Dorothy Howard (Metropolitan New York Library Council), and Richard Knipel (Wikimedia NYC).
It is wonderful to think about what we can accomplish if women all over the world start writing about each other online.There is so much that needs to be said!
Marj O'Neill-Butler ,14th February 2014,
Dervla Kirwan today warned Britain was in danger of losing a generation of female stars because of a shortage of roles for older women.
Anna Dubuis, The Evening Standard, 22nd January 2014
Casting calls expose different standards of expectation when it comes to male and female acting roles.
Alice Vincent, The Telegraph, 9th January 2014
Emma Thompson says that "gender-blind" casting is the way ahead as it affords new ways of looking at classics.
Tim Walker, The Telegraph, 7th January 2014
The women's movement may have been in hiding through the 'ladette' years , but in 2013 it has come back with a vengeance. Introducing the new feminists taking the struggle to the web- and the streets.
Kira Cochrane, The Guardian, 10th December 2013
More females study drama and buy theatre tickets yet their lives are under-represented on stage. In her new guide to plays that put women in the limelight, director Lucy Kerbel hopes to redress the balance.
Rosamund Urwin, The Evening Standard, 6th November 2013
BBC's contoller of language services on the 100 women season.
Emine Saner, The Guardian. 21st October 2013
Sue Parrish's letter to the editor.
The Stage 24th October 2013
"Equity has called on the government to lead a crackdown on the use of female stereotypes in television and theatre"
Matt Hemley, The Stage, 19th September 2013
(What a certian Sue Parrish has been saying for years... ed) "The RSC is turning to Jacobean drama in search of better roles for women. So does the Shakespearean tradition hold actresses back?..."
Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer 14th September 2013
"'There is a lot more to it than older women, talking about the 70s, it attracts a young audience.' UK feminists have had a good year..."
Tess Reidy, The Observer 18th August 2013
"I was, until recently, blissfully unaware of the sacrifices my not-too-distant relations had made to win us the right to education..."
Jessica Swale, The Evening Standard, 6th August 2013
"Vicky Featherstone is shaking things up for her first season at the helm of the Royal Court..."
Fiona Mountford, The Evening Standard, 31st July 2013
*sorry - this is a link to the Times Firewall, but we can't find this great article anywhere else! But have a look into what AurelieFilippetti is up to across the water... ed* "Women head only five of France's 34 national drama centres. 'Too old, too male' that is the verdict of the French Culture Minister on her country's cultural elite."
Adam Sage, The Times, 29th July 2013
"...that the supply of female stars has dried up. WHy have they got it so wrong? The disappearance of intelligent movies"
Christopher Goodwin, The Sunday Times, 14th July 2013
"The flagship dramas of the BBC and ITV did not have a single female director last year, a study has found..."
Bee Rowlatt, The Sunday Telegraph, 7th July 2013
"Madonna and Beyoncé are championing female empowerment, Spare Rib is to relaunch, and Facebook has had to respond to pressure to tackle misogyny. Tracy McVeigh reports on the return of the F-word"
Tracy McVeigh, The Observer, 2nd June 2013
"Womens Minister Maria Miller to offer parents guide to boosting girls' ambition"
Daniel Boffey and Heather Stewart, The Observer, 2nd June 2013
"Women in the arts have been in the news this week - but sadly not for the right reasons,."
Sarah Crompton, The Telegraph 30th March 2013
"Women are finally getting the chance to make a massive impact in the arts, argues the Observer's theatre critic."
Susannah Clapp, The Observer 24th March 2013
"Once again, the top jobs at two major British cultural institutions, the BBC and the Royal Opera House, have gone to male appointees."
Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer 24th March 2013
"The new leading lady is bold and brave. She’s also weird, obsessive and often deeply damaged. It’s a novel kind of misogyny and it’s taking over our screens."
Tanya Gold, The Sunday Times 10th February 2013
"As women we are taught to be reactive."
Melissa Hillman, Blog 21st January 2013
"It's a relief to know that what I regularly see – so few women on stage, so few plays written or directed by women – is not just me feeling left out. As the research published in the Guardian into the representation of women in British theatre proved: I am a woman and therefore I am left out. Yes, British theatre often leaves out anyone who is not white, male, middle class and able-bodied, but women are not a minority. When we leave women out of our casting, our programming, we doubly disadvantage women who are part of any minority..."
The Guardian - Stella Duffy 12 December 2012
Breakdown of the Guardian Survey's statistics
The Guardian - Posted by Amy Sedghi, 10 December 2012
New research by the Guardian in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone shows a troubling picture about the role of women in English theatre. Here's a summary of our most significant findings
The Guardian - 11 December 2012
In a special report, Charlotte Higgins asks leading figures why women are still underrepresented at every level of the business – and what needs to change
The Guardian - Charlotte Higgins 10 December 2012
For Lloyd, the answer is a straightforward feminist one: she wishes, in a small way, to redress the gender imbalance that she sees around her every day in the theatre...
The Guardian - Charlotte Higgins 19 November 2012
Susanna White, who directed BBC2's costume drama hit, says TV is still plagued by sexism...
The Guardian - Maggie Brown 9/September/2012
London 2012 opening ceremony inspires performers to become modern-day activists and join UK Feminista in rights rally...
The Guardian - Alexandra Topping 19/August/2012
Women in dance have been most powerful during periods of transition – early modern dance, early 20th-century ballet, the new dance waves of 1960s New York and 1980s London. Perhaps in the 21st century we can hope for more visible – and lasting – success...
The Guardian - Judith Mackrell 19/August/2012
Women need to see ourselves reflected on stage, and off it too. It's not just the number of roles available to women (although there is no reason why there shouldn't be an all-female company producing Shakespeare) that creates the imbalance, but the fact that British theatre remains predominantly male when it comes to writers and directors. But then it is also predominantly white and middle class too, and those are issues that urgently need addressing as much as gender imbalances. Only when they are will our stages reflect the real world...
The Guardian - Lyn Gardner 2/July/2012
Janet Suzman among high-profile thespians highlighting lack of opportunity that reflects wider imbalance in society. Janet Suzman is an actor who, by way of the RSC, has scaled the heights of the classical repertory, playing Shakespeare's women from Ophelia to Volumnia.
But it is a career that remains "really frustrating", she says, because "there aren't bloody well enough parts for women"...
The Guardian - Charlotte Higgins 29/June/2012
There have been discussions in the media this week questioning Hampstead Theatre’s policy towards Gender Equality in our programming.
Hampstead Theatre does not, and has never, excluded women from its productions as a matter of policy...
Hampstead Theatre Response - 28/June/2012
The current season at Hampstead Theatre’s main stage shows little regard for female performers’ right to work or for actual women being represented. The theatre is currently showing Chariots of Fire, with a cast of 18 men and three women, and will then show the DruidMurphy trilogy, with 13 male and four female roles. This is to be followed by Shakespeare’s Henry V and The Winter’s Tale, both performed by an all-male company with no roles at all for women.
Hampstead Theatre is a subsidised theatre in receipt of public funding, and as such has a duty to respect equality and diversity...
The Stage - Edward Pleasance 28/June/2012
When we do not see ourselves on stage we are reminded, yet again, that the people running our world (count the women in the front benches if you are at all unsure) DO NOT NOTICE WHEN WE’RE NOT THERE. That they think men (and yes, white, middle class, middle aged, able-bodied men at that) are ALL we need to see. We are reminded they think that we women – who buy more than 70% of theatre tickets after all – are fine with seeing season after season of theatre (and films, and TV) written by men, about men. Or even (and this is where it gets really interesting) written by women about men. The young women playwrights currently in the ascendency have clearly noticed this, noticed that they are likely to be taken more seriously, that their work is more likely to be produced, if it’s about men. Just as the young women directors are directing plays about men. (It’s certainly a way to make sure you’re not lumped in the ‘women’s writing’/'women’s theatre’ ghetto. Sigh. Assuming it is possible to be in a ghetto made up of 52% of the population?!)...
Not Writing but Blogging - Stella Duffy 27/June/2012
Actors' union finds male roles outnumber female roles by average of two to one in publicly funded companies...
The Guardian - Alexandra Topping 27/June/2012
IT has come to our attention that the programming throughout the current season on the main stage at Hampstead Theatre shows little regard for female performers’ right to work or for actual women being represented...
Camden New Journal - Edward Pleasance 21/June/2012
Men still dominate the big jobs in performing arts. And I have noticed, shockingly, that female theatre students are still prone to cede to male classmates. But is change finally coming?...
The Guardian Blog - Claire Brennan 6/March/2012
Series like Call the Midwife and Scott & Bailey are attracting record audiences with a mix of strong female characters...
The Observer - Maggie Brown 25/February/2012
Research shows that theatres are prejudiced against female playwrights. What can be done about it?...
TheGuardian - Lyn Gardner 22/February/2012
Upon reading today that our glorious national treasure, Stephen Fry, is playing Malvolio in an all-male production of Twelfth Night at the Globe this summer, I faced an internal struggle....
Social Justice First - Jenni Tomlin 18/February/2012
Angela Rippon, the veteran news reader, has criticised the BBC over the salaries paid to female presenters after it emerged the co-hosts of one of corporation's most popular shows earn just one fortieth of their counterparts on Match of the Day...
The Telegraph - Mathew Holehouse 13/February/2012
Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general, has warned that the corporation does not have enough older women on television...
The Telegraph - Murray Wardrop 9/February/2012
I really welcome Jo Caird’s article (The Stage, January 19, page 10) challenging the industry to find ways to help raise more women into top jobs in the arts.
In a conversation with Arts Council England’s Barbara Matthews during Equity’s Annual Representative Conference last May I bemoaned the fact that the casting opportunities for actresses in the subsidised sector were woeful in comparison with actors...
The Stage - Jean Rogers 26/January/2012
As government budget cuts have a disproportionate effect on women and their career progression, Jo Caird asks what the industry must do to enable women to rise up to the top positions in the arts...
The Stage - Jo Caird 19/January/2012
From awards ceremonies to drive-time presenters, radio is dominated by men. But not for much longer, writes one of the team behind the launch of Sound Women, a pressure group devoted to giving women a louder voice...
The Observer - Miranda Sawyer 30/October/2011
Playwright Julia Pascal wants more women in top arts jobs - and believes it's up to Arts Council England to lead the revolution...
The Guardian Blog - Lalayn Baluch 6/October/2011
Women are under-represented in theatre – not for lack of interest, but because the industry is failing to provide long-term support...
The Guardian Blog - Krystina Nellis 18/July/2011