Northfield, IL | September 19, 2022 | Today, Dance Data Project® (DDP) is releasing the first-ever Gender Equity Index (GEI) for the U.S. dance industry in specific and performing arts in general. DDP’s GEI is designed to assess how dance companies measure up in terms of commissioning female creators, giving them leadership positions, and fostering a transparent and accountable culture. DDP’s Gender Equity Index is modeled on indices developed by BloombergEquileapGender Fair, and ASU’s Women’s Power Index, among others. The full list of comparable indices studied by the DDP Research Team can be found here. In early 2023, DDP will issue its ranking of the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies, awarding a score from “Excellent” to “Poor.”

DDP research has demonstrated persistent and pervasive gender inequities in the dance world. For the Largest 50 U.S. ballet companies, only 30% of Artistic Directors were female (Artistic & Executive Leadership Report 2022) as of July 2022. Women who did rise to the rank of Artistic Director in the Largest 50 made an average of just 63 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts in FY 2020. Even in the collegiate setting, only 34% of deans overseeing dance programs are female (Collegiate Dance Programs Faculty & Administration Report) while 69% of the lowest ranking faculty positions are filled by women.

“Despite dance being an overwhelmingly female dominated field, it is men who hold the titled, more prestigious, and higher paying positions,” said DDP Research Coordinator Jenna Magrath. She continued, “Sadly, we haven’t seen notable overall progress in the number of women commissioned for works, especially full evening length works that are both the most lucrative and valued opportunities.”

Dance Data Project® has created a proprietary algorithm which, based on participating company answers – including the company’s transparency concerning policies, pay, and practices – combined with DDP’s research findings, will determine the company’s GEI score. As the formula is based on an additive approach, companies gain points for every area in which they take concrete steps towards improving gender equality.

Company participation and transparency will be a significant factor in DDP’s GEI scoring, as these factors reflect the organization’s commitment to achieving equity in dance. Research shows that higher corporate transparency increases an organization’s value and trustworthiness.

In this respect, DDP’s rating process will consider such topics as whether the company’s annual tax returns are available online and whether pay ranges are publicly disclosed. The Index will also account for a company’s adoption, publication of, and training in codes of conduct, as well as its reporting mechanisms for sexual assault/harassment and bullying.

“We won’t ‘call out’ those companies who are falling behind their peers when it comes to equity in the workplace,” said DDP Research Lead Rebecca Ferrell. “Instead, we are recognizing companies that do make a safe and equitable workplace a priority and providing a road map for others to follow suit.”

DDP Founder & President Elizabeth “Liza” Yntema concluded, “DDP is providing this critical information in great measure for individual donors and foundation officers who are considering a gift – it’s time the dance world and donors are held accountable for how women and the dance workforce as a whole is treated.”

Companies can expect to receive a survey directly from DDP later this fall. DDP will announce the rankings in early 2023.

Visit the Gender Equity Index page on DDP’s website for more information.