WHERE ARE WE?

Recently a study entitled Women in Cultural Policies was published by the European Research Institute for Comparative Cultural Policy and the Arts (ERICArts), with the support of the City of Women festival.

The position of women in culture compared to other spheres of life (economic,

medical, social, etc.) has not been widely researched and documented. United Nations research has shown that women, the marginalised majority, do two-thirds of the world’s work for less than ten per cent of the world’s income, and own less than one per cent of the world’s wealth. The most recent study by the ERICA institute deals with the basic concerns of UNESCO (equality, diversity, transparency and productivity) from the standpoint of equal-opportunity-in-culture policy:

1. Equality: women must be involved in decision-making in cultural policy, the arts and the media, receive equal pay for equal work, and have the same social conditions as men (which does not rule out specific measures for women such as child care). They must also have access to further education and training programmes and have the same opportunities as men.

2. Diversity: women must be free to express themselves, including those with differing values and opinions. The differences between women must be acknowledged and supported, but emphasis should be given to furthering their presence and contribution to cultural life as a whole.

3. Recognition: (cognitive realisation and emotive respect) women’s rights as human rights must be recognised along with their past and present achievements. Only then will society be able to make full use of the wealth of talent, expressiveness and experience contributed, but often not recognised sufficiently, by women over the ages.

4. Transparency: if required, for example, in political decision-making processes, in the production and dissemination of information (including research results) and in all innovative processes, thus ensuring visibility (access) for all groups and processes in society. Quality media programming and freedom of expression are prerequisites to ensuring a true “creative diversity”.

5. Productivity: maintains a strong relationship to economic development, but

this must be reconciled with social needs, emphasising individual creativity/ talents and the production of values as opposed to pure market demands. Without productivity, especially in such fields as the media and new technologies, sustainable development will not be achieved.

 

ERICA presents nine approaches for achieving gender equality in the arts, culture and media:

1. Legally enforced quotas in public or publicly financed work environments.

2. Gender equality employment policies in public institutions

   (e.g. equality officers to enforce fair treatment).

3. Incentives for companies or associations with equal opportunity

    recruiting policies (e.g. tax breaks, special loans).

4. Specialised institutions for promoting women’s goals and achievements

   in the arts and the media.

5. Enhancing the legal and social conditions of part-time and freelance work.

6. Changing traditional images of women and men in the media

   (e.g. film, television, advertising).

7. Rewriting history books to include and update female role models.

8. Creating public platforms (via the media, campaigns, exhibitions, Internet coverage).

9. Developing electronic data bases to improve access for women working

in the arts and media.    

 

The first international City of Women festival was held in 1995. Why? Simply to raise the question over and over again, besides enjoying great art performed and presented by artists from different parts of the world: Where are we? If you look closely at the nine proposals for ensuring equal opportunities in culture, you will realise that these are largely untrodden paths in Slovenia, and following these to the final goal will take a great deal of effort.

Uršula Cetinski