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Pyramid or Pillars
Women in Cultural Policies
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Balancing Targeted Public Measures to Bring About Transparency and Recognition

Many female artists are not in favour of gender-quotas, because they do not want to be treated as a special group. In an ideal world they would like to see their own work given the same opportunities and value as that of their male colleagues. However, since this ideal world does not yet exist, many of them reluctantly recognise that targeted measures have and will continue to help an increasing number of women gain entry to, e.g., universities, thus counterbalancing male dominance.

Formal procedures to bring more transparency in hiring practises and decision-making processes in publicly financed cultural and media institutions need to be regularly monitored against defined benchmarks and consequences for noncompliance; this includes decisions taken on both the organisational level as well as in the programming of artists work/content. It has been suggested that adjudication panels and /or commission be employed by public institutions (e.g. radio symphony orchestras) to commission contemporary works thus opening up the possibility for women to enter into competition with greater confidence.

Considering the important role of festivals as distributors of artists work and cultural awards which recognise their value and importance on a (trans)national level, transparency in decision-making of who is admitted or selected is as equally important as hiring practices in cultural institutions. At the moment, it is perceived that programming committees and juries are not well informed about women artists in general because they may not know their work personally and therefore assume there are none. This perpetuates a relationship between gender equality and artistic quality which is misleading and further segregates women.

Specially trained persons with gender expertise need to be appointed as referees on such committees.

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