DANCE DATA PROJECT® FINDINGS SHOW GENDER-BASED WAGE AND OPPORTUNITY GAP IN DANCE LEADERSHIP
Northfield, IL | July 28, 2022 | Dance Data Project® (DDP) today released its fourth annual Artistic and Executive Leadership Report, tripling the scope of our inaugural Report of this kind to survey 150 total U.S. ballet companies.
DDP’s study demonstrates the persistence of a glaring gender-based pay and opportunity gap:
- Only 30% of Artistic Directors at the Largest 50 ballet companies in the United States are women
- Over the past five years, the Largest 50 ballet companies have had more than twice as many men than women in the role of Artistic Director
- In 2018, there were 15 female and 34 male Artistic Directors
- In 2019, there were 13 female and 33 male Artistic Directors
- In 2020, there were 14 female and 33 male Artistic Directors
- In 2021, there were 15 female and 35 male Artistic Directors
- In 2022, there are 15 female and 35 male Artistic Directors
- For the Largest 50 ballet companies, female Artistic Directors earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by men as Artistic Director. While the past few years have signaled a narrowing of the gender wage gap for Artistic Directors, this year’s findings show otherwise – this wage gap is 10 cents wider than in FY 2019.
- In 2016, women earned 62 cents for every dollar men earned as Artistic Director
- In 2017, women earned 68 cents for every dollar men earned as Artistic Director
- In 2018, women earned 61 cents for every dollar men earned as Artistic Director
- In 2019, women earned 73 cents for every dollar men earned as Artistic Director
By contrast, among the Next 50 (51-100) ballet companies, DDP found that the gender balance of leaders is markedly more equitable—women hold 39% of artistic directorships. In the Additional 50 (101-150) ballet companies with much smaller budgets (ranging from $487,000 to $128,000 per year), women hold 57% of artistic directorships.
“Combining these findings with those of our recent Largest 150 U.S. Ballet & Classically Based Companies & Financial Scope of the Industry Report demonstrates how the smaller the company (and budget), the more likely a woman is trusted to lead it,” said Rebecca Ferrell, Dance Data Project® Research Lead & Programming Consultant. “Instead of consistently donating to the same largest 10 companies, informed philanthropy could target giving towards smaller, more equitable organizations, encouraging others to follow suit,” said Elizabeth “Liza” Yntema, President & Founder of Dance Data Project®.
The Report also examines executive directorships, which have historically proven to be more equitable. Executive Directors/CEOs are responsible for the administrative side of company management and work alongside Artistic Directors in executing artistic vision. In the Largest 50 ballet companies, 51% of Executive Directors are women, earning 92 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, an increase of 7 cents from FY 2019.
“Producing these Reports every year is a heavy, but necessary, lift. The ability to set a benchmark from previous findings is how we, as a concerned and committed community, can hold organizations accountable for their progress, or lack thereof,” said Isabelle Ramey, Communications Lead for DDP. “It’s important to remember that dance companies, like so many other performing arts organizations, reap considerable tax rebates or forgiveness. The trade-off, at least in theory, is benefit to the community and transparency in operations.”