Academic journal article Theatre Research in Canada

Women in Theatre: Here, There, Everywhere, and Nowhere

Academic journal article Theatre Research in Canada

Women in Theatre: Here, There, Everywhere, and Nowhere

Article excerpt

This article examines the status of women in theatre in the early twenty-first century and determines that while there has been some improvement in Canada in the last twenty-five years, women still lag behind men in terms of employment in key creative positions Studies show that only 30-35% of the nation's artistic directors are female and that this limits the production of work by female playwrights and the hiring of female directors. Problems are further exacerbated where there is limited provincial and corporate funding, as in Atlantic Canada. Little money, combined with a greater likelihood that work by female playwrights will be defined as risky and less attractive for sponsors and mainstream theatres, further restricts opportunities for women in theatre. Women also identify traditional hierarchical practices in the theatre industry and social policies, which fail to provide parental leave for self-employed workers or adequate publicly-funded daycare, as barriers to their participation. While increased government funding would help all theatre professionals, including women, and women can support one another through networking and mentorship, the theatre community must actively identify and change the practices that lead to gender inequity.

Le present article porte sur le statut des femmes en theatre au debut du XXIe siecle. Burton et Green constatent que s'il y a eu une certaine amelioration au Canada au cours des vingt-cinq dernieres annees, les femmes qui ouvrent dans ce secteur accusent encore un retard par rapport aux hommes en termes d'emplois dans des positions-cles en creation. En effet, des etudes demontrent que la direction artistique des compagnies canadiennes n'est confiee a une femme que dans 30 a 35 % des cas, ce qui limite la production d'oeuvres signees par des dramaturges de sexe feminin et l'embauche de metteures en scene. L'inegalite est d'autant plus exacerbee la ou les subventions accordees par l'administration provinciale et issues du secteur prive sont limitees, comme c'est le cas au Canada atlantique par exemple. Le peu de financement, de paire avec l'impression qu'une ouvre signee par une dramaturge constitue un plus grand risque et donc un moins grand attrait pour les subventionnaires et les theatres populaires, sont des obstacles supplementaires que doit surmonter la femme en theatre.

On cite egalement a titre d'obstacles les pratiques traditionnelles hierarchisantes a l'ouvre au sein du secteur et les politiques sociales qui ne prevoient pas de conge parental pour les travailleurs autonomes ou un service de garderie subventionne adequatement par l'Etat. Tous les professionnels du theatre, tant masculins que feminins, beneficieraient d'un plus grand financement public; quant aux femmes en theatre, elles peuvent s'appuyer entre elles par l'entremise du reseautage et du mentorat. Ceci dit, la communaute theatrale doit cerner et modifier activement les pratiques qui menent a l'inegalite des sexes.

The beginning of the twenty-first century has heralded a reassessment of a number of social issues and artistic endeavors, as witnessed, for example, by the anti-poverty and Africa-awareness campaigns initiated by various musical artists in recent years. (1) These campaigns often raise public awareness of social conditions that have shown little improvement in the last quarter century. In theatre, there has also been a growing awareness of limited change in the last few decades, especially regarding the status of women. (2) While women in Canadian university theatre programs dramatically (no pun intended) outnumber men, they are much less visible in the country's professional theatres. Indeed, as this article will show, women currently outnumber men in all aspects of theatre except employment in key creative positions. Given that this inequality exists in a country that has had a charter of rights barring gender discrimination for more than twenty years, and in an era of affirmative action programs, it prompts the question of why this gender gap still exists. …

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