Gender Parity Task Force
Spotlight on Gender Parity
in the New England Theater Community 2013-2014 Season
This is a report on gender equity in the New England theater community, with statistics from the 2013-2014 season. The information was gathered by the Gender Parity Task Force, which operates under the umbrella of StageSource, the service organization for the New England theater community. The goal of the study was to benchmark numbers around gender parity in our theater community, while recognizing that the numbers themselves, and the goals of different theater companies, require the context of discussion. By collecting this data on a regular basis in the future, StageSource hopes to create an environment in which such discussions can take place, and necessary changes can be made.
As many other studies have shown, gender equity in theater is still an issue in 2015. Theater and the performing arts provide a catalyst for public conversation, a pathway for social justice, and a tool for education. Inequity in theater affects much more than job opportunities for theater artists, important as those are. Greater inclusion is critical, not just for the sake of the work itself, but for the sake of its impact on the public.
The future of theater depends on its ability to reflect the full range of voices in the community. All stories deserve to be told – not just the stories that reinforce traditional white male heteronormative norms. In addition, women comprise over fifty percent of the population, and are the majority of theater ticket buyers. Gender parity makes good business sense.
Men outnumber women by at least 2 to 1 in the fields of Director, Playwright, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Sound Design, Projection Design, Violence Design, and Music Direction.
- There are four areas where women outnumber men: Stage Management, Costume Design, Props, and Dramaturgy.
- Parity is close in two areas: Puppetry and Choreography. Management is close to parity, though the size of the theater varies those roles and their impact. Men tend to work in the larger theaters, which presumably means that they are paid a higher wage on average .
- Women hold more roles in small and fringe theaters, while men work in higher percentages in larger theaters. Based on these findings, it can be inferred that men make more money.
- Actors had a 54% male and 46% female breakdown. This area requires further study with regard to size of roles, types of roles, and the perspective of the story being told.
The data included in this report represent the beginning of the work. Opportunities for discussion at the StageSource Theater Conference (June 7, 2015), as well as at different convenings throughout the summer and fall, will give our community the chance to discuss, parse, and develop action steps in order to bring these numbers to parity. StageSource looks forward to working with the entire New England community to ensure that our theater truly reflects and serves everyone.