In analyzing the 2012 results, we were struck by the bias against female artists, particularly with regards to the wage gap. This is particularly galling when female artists outnumbered male artists by a factor of 3:2. Anecdotally speaking, there has been for many years many many more female than male students in arts programs, and this has perhaps become more and more present in professional practice, certainly an improvement over time. However, the 2017 results have presented a particularly challenging number to reflect on, where the percentage of female artists versus male has increased to over 70%. Reports on the 2016 census (footnote kelly’s report) suggest that census-artists come in at 56% female.[1] That there is a bias against female artists in the market[2] (fn gender report 2012, fn Ann’s book) could explain some of this discrepancy, as more female artists would have to rely more heavily on secondary income to make ends meet. When we look towards the income statistics, we will have a better idea if this is a feasible conjecture.

There is a second aspect to our accounting for gender. In our 2017 survey, we seriously revamped our gender question to more accurately reflect the nonbinary reality that gender occupies. While we had always had an “other” option available as a response, our 2017 question was much more inclusive.[3] Combine this along with the shift in broader perceptions of nonbinary genders, and we had a significant jump in nonbinary responses of various sorts … from 0% in 2007 to .6% in 2012 to 7.4% in 2017.[4] This number likely equally a result of a better formulated question and of a shift in gender expression in the public sphere. Not knowing which of these two aspects contributed more to the situation, we aren’t looking as closely at the nonbinary category in our analyses, as we do not have reliable data from all three surveys.

 

[1] See Kelly Hill, A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada in 2016, at https://hillstrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/sia49_artists_canada2016_revised.pdf
[2] See http://agyu.art/project/waging-culture-the-sex-gap/. Also of note is the work of Anne Dymond, whose Diversity Counts: Gender, Race, and Representation in Canadian Art Galleries, looks at gender in public art galleries in Canada. https://www.mqup.ca/diversity-counts-products-9780773556737.php?page_id=119840&
[3] In hindsight, our 2007 question about gender was particularly unwelcome in its phrasing, and we feel particularly bad about the phrasing that we used.
[4] With so few responses to the 2017 survey, however, we don’t feel like we have enough data to be able to look at financial breakdowns of the nonbinary category.

This is one of a series of mini-reports on the results of the 2017 Waging Culture survey, a study of the socio-economic conditions faced by Canadian-resident professional visual artists. Supported by the Art Gallery of York University, it is an undertaking of Michael Maranda. This is the third iteration of the survey which was funded by a Supporting Artistic Practice project grant from teh Canada Council.  Comments and questions may be directed to wagingculture@theagyuisoutthere.org

See also
Gallery representation and secondary markets

Gallery representation and secondary markets

Waging Culture 2017
28 Nov 2019
Social Class

Social Class

Waging Culture 2017
23 Nov 2019
Education

Education

Waging Culture 2017
7 Nov 2019
Citizenship and Racialized artists

Citizenship and Racialized artists

Waging Culture 2017
25 Oct 2019
First Language, Regions, and Age

First Language, Regions, and Age

Waging Culture 2017
3 Oct 2019
Methodology

Methodology

Waging Culture 2017
12 Sep 2019
The socio-economic status of Canadian visual artists

The socio-economic status of Canadian visual artists

Waging Culture 2012
26 Jun 2013
The socio-economic status of Canadian visual artists

The socio-economic status of Canadian visual artists

Waging Culture 2007
01 Apr 2009

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