Two years ago, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced his ministerial team – for the first time in the country’s history equally balanced between men and women – he was asked by a reporter why gender parity in his cabinet was so important to him. He simply replied, “Because it’s 2015.”
His retort grabbed the world’s attention – and has now inspired the motto of a new initiative for gender equality in culture and media in Germany, “Weil es 2017 ist!” (Because it’s 2017).
Even though most would agree that gender equity is long overdue, the facts depict a different reality. A study analyzing the situation of women in cultural fields, released in 2016, demonstrated that female artists and cultural institution professionals were strongly disadvantaged on several levels.
For example, only a third of all German museums and 22 percent of the country’s theaters are directed by women. Even though over 50 percent of art students are female, less than 20 percent of them are on show in galleries. Women working in cultural fields earn on average 24 percent less than their male colleagues, according to data comparing people covered by Germany’s special insurance for artists, known as the Künstlersozialversicherung.
Monika Grütters discusses the new project with host Petra Gute and government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer
New office to promote equal chances
In reaction to this study, German Culture Minister Monika Grütters decided in June last year to set up a roundtable called “Women in Culture and Media” to discuss possible solutions.
After a series of four meetings with professionals from different artistic fields – visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, film and media – Grütters held a reception at the Chancellor’s Office on Monday evening to reveal measures that will “put the results of the roundtable into practice,” she said.