“Text books affirm that Gregory invented plain-chant but Hildegard von Bingen, the most prolific composer of her century, saint, physician and philosopher is never mentioned”
The 1995 UNESCO World Commission for Culture and Development identified the relationship between gender and culture as essential for sustainable development. Since 1978 Donne in Musica has promoted empowerment and mainstreaming for women composers and practitioners.
Donne in Musica also insists that the mobility of artists encourages professional skills, artistic development and career possibilities through residencies, presentations and live performances which encourage cultural diversity, life-long creativity and the circulation of ideas and music across linguistic and national borders.
Without performance music does not exist and its intangibility reflects the invisibility of women who create: talent alone is not sufficient for the success of a professional career, therefore, accounting for the representation of men and women in the performing arts would reinvigorate the sector.
Women receive lower remuneration than men even if with higher educational qualifications.
Research by Italian Equal Opportunities Commission noted that 90% of all women artists earn less than Euro 20 thousand per year.
The status of women composers is constantly under threat: only 1% of their music (traditional, popular, classical, and contemporary) is programmed by state funded institutions as confirmed by the French Culture Ministry, and 89% of public arts and culture institutions are directed by men. The 2010 BBC Promenade season of 76 concerts, programmed music by only 7 women composers (4.5% of whole).
This professional discrimination is extremely insidious and rarely admitted, leaving skills and talents unexploited, damaging artistic dynamism, influence and economic development.
Look at current music curricula (schools, conservatories, universities). Listen to what state funded music organisations (orchestras, festivals, theatres, radio, and television) are programming or to jazz and popular concerts and ask: “where are the women?”
In today’s Europe women are part of the large army of creative artists without whom the Cultural Industries will never be the most powerful economic motor in Europe (as envisaged). Women composers are central to the European Parliament resolution (2008/2182(INI)) March 2009) which sets out guidelines for each Member State to ensure equal opportunities for men and women in the fields of performing arts, as creative artists and within cultural and academic institutions*.
However, to “convince” our countries to “Assume the Resolution” we must work with Ministries, Cultural Institutions and Parliamentarians providing them with current data about the presence and activities of women composers.
*It underlines “whereas the principle of equality between men and women should apply to all players in the performing arts, in all disciplines, all structures (production, broadcasting and teaching) and all activities (artistic, technical and administrative), men and women are not proportionally represented in the various jobs in the performing arts, and this initial form of inequality is compounded by disparities in work, employment conditions and income. Inequalities in access to decision-making posts, production and broadcast networks are apparent in all disciplines of the performing arts, and the objective of equality presupposes the systematic opening-up of all jobs to both men and women. Talent alone is not sufficient for the artistic quality of a performance or the success of a professional career and better representation of men and women in the performing arts would reinvigorate the sector. Existing inequalities leave skills and talents unexploited and are damaging to artistic dynamism, influence and economic development. Persistent prejudices lead to discriminatory behaviour towards women in selection, appointment procedures and work relations; women often receive lower remuneration than men even if they have higher educational qualifications, a stronger interest in training and networks. Obstacles to gender equality are particularly deep rooted and require specific steps to reduce inequalities, taking account of the leverage effect which that may have on society as a whole. It is necessary to analyse mechanisms that produce these inequalities and to promote access for women to all artistic professions and performing arts. Member States are encouraged to remove all obstacles to women accessing top positions in cultural institutions, academies and universities. Discrimination against women holds back the cultural sector depriving it of talent and skills and talent. The Resolution calls on the actors in the field of culture to increase the presence of female creators and their works in programming, collections, publishing and consultation.”
Promotion of slogan: “Culture development needs women and music” and communication to European media and stakeholders about the activities of women composers;
Updating of archives in preparation for publication of a European Yearbook of Women Composers and Creators of Music”;
Increase in trans-national mobility for women composers and practitioners to amplify professional skills, life-long creativity and facilitate dissemination of knowledge and strategies in their own countries;
Investigation of mechanisms producing inequalities together with production of statistics for works by women programmed by EU public institutions and discussion of national benchmarking for gender audits in the arts;
Advocacy for 2009 European Parliament Resolution to reinforce official recognition of the presence and value in public and cultural sectors of women making music;
Formulation of cross-cultural approach for arts training policies to be presented to European Parliament (Commissions for Culture, Education and Women).