A Gender Gap In Ballet, Seriously?
By Kim Elsesser
12 September 2019
If there is one occupation in which it seems women should have an equal shot of making it to leadership roles, it is ballet. From a young age, far more girls than boys are interested in ballet, so much so that girls are estimated to outnumber boys 20-to-1 in ballet classes. Yet when it comes to leadership, there’s a shocking gender gap in favor of men.
The Data Dance Project (DDP), an organization dedicated to promoting equity in classical ballet, examined leadership and salary data for artistic directors at the top 50 ballet companies in the United States—and their findings are pretty shocking. Artistic directors are often former dancers, and they have the final say on artistic decisions like how a step may be performed or how a show will transition from one piece to the next. According to DDP, a whopping 72% of ballet companies have a male artistic director. Those women who do get the title of artistic director earn only 68 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Sadly, only one woman made it onto DDP’s top ten list of the highest paid artistic directors.
The gender bias in choreography is even worse. DDP found that in the 2018-19 ballet season, men choreographed 81% of all works performed by the top 50 ballet companies. Of the 467 works announced for the 2019-20 season, 79% will be choreographed by men.
Read the full feature on Forbes.com.