December 4, 2008

Equality Watch: Women Artists Get Paid Less

I guess this isn't such an important story because I only read about it in one place (good job LA Times), but it is important and should be discussed further. It's hard to make ends meet as an artist, but its harder as a female artist according to the NEA.

The NEA has released a more in-depth look at some of the data in its report “Artists in the Workforce, 1990-2005.” This "addendum" specifically looks at the gender pay gap for artists. Occupations included in the study: announcers, architects, musicians, producers, directors, artists, dancers, choreographers, designers, writers, visual artists, entertainers, performers and photographers.

Said the chairman of the NEA Dana Gioia: "Committed and entrepreneurial, women artists are making enormous progress, but still lag behind their male colleagues economically, especially in fields such as photography, design, and architecture.”

Other interesting findings:

  • Women artists earn $0.75 for every dollar made by men artists. That 2 cents less than the overall gender pay gap which is 77 cents for every male dollar.
  • Pay disparity increases with age.
  • Pay gaps vary by occupation. Men and women had closer earnings parity in lower-paying performing arts occupations (such as musicians and dancers), where women earned an average of $0.92 for every dollar earned by men. The gap tended to be larger in non-performing art occupations (such as designers and art directors), where women earned 72 percent of what men earn.
  • Pay gaps vary by state. The pay disparity was smaller in ten states, such as New York and Arizona, where women made 80 percent or more of what men made. Women made less than 75 percent of what men made in 27 states, including Virginia, Michigan, and North Dakota.

  • Women make up just under half of all artists nationwide (46 percent), yet they are underrepresented in many artist professions. In 2003-2005, nearly 8 out of 10 announcers and architects were men.
  • Women artists are as likely to be married as female workers in general, but they are less likely to have children.
  • Female artists cluster in low-population states. Women made up more than 55 percent of the artist labor force in Iowa, Alaska, New Hampshire and Mississippi in 2003-2005. They represent well below half of all artists in New York (45.8 percent) and in California (42.6 percent).
Women Artists: 1990 - 2005 (December 2008 update)
A gender pay gap for L.A. artists (NYC too) (LA Times)