DDP’s 2023 Gender Equity Index results are currently live! View them below.
What is a Gender Equity Index?
Gender equity: “fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.” (International Labour Office [ILO], 2000)
A gender equity index is a method of tracking and ranking companies based on their performance as it relates to gender equity. Some examples of Gender Equity Indices include:
Dance Data Project® referenced multiple other examples of Gender Equity Indices to inform the creation and development of this survey. A comprehensive list of this research can be found here.
Why is transparency important in a healthy work environment?
Research shows that higher corporate transparency increases an organization’s value and trustworthiness (Lang et al, 2012 and Schnackenberg et al, 2020). Alternatively, low corporate transparency leads to poorer business outcomes (Anderson et al, 2009). By simply providing senior managers with data on how their pay decisions compared to others helped managers hold themselves accountable and reduce pay disparities by gender, race, and birth nationality. (University of Massachusetts, Center for Employment Equity).
“Pay transparency doesn’t just help with diversity, it helps all employees in the organization. Openness and honesty about pay and how pay is determined can help employees to set and achieve their goals. By offering clear, objective data on how to advance in their organization, employees are motivated to succeed.” (Forbes)
Legal Momentum argues, pay secrecy has long thwarted pay equity for a number of reasons:
- It creates opportunities for employers to inject gender and racial bias into the salary setting process, which research shows employers do
- It disproportionately disadvantages women and people of color, who historically have earned less due to discriminatory practices, have less leverage, and are thus in a weaker position to negotiate higher salaries.
- It limits the effectiveness of our existing equal pay laws, preventing women, people of color, and enforcement agencies, and other vulnerable groups from identifying problematic pay disparities asserting their rights under these laws
- It allows employers to continue relying on applicants’ prior salary or salary expectations, a practice known to perpetuate the wage gap for women and people of color who have been paid less over time.
DDP conducted extensive research on the importance of corporate transparency. These findings have been compiled and can be viewed here.
Why is a GEI specific to the ballet sector important?
Dance, specifically ballet, has historically been a female-dominated field with 76.6% women (Data USA). Despite this, men typically hold more prestigious and higher-paying positions, such as artistic and executive directors, and receive the most lucrative, high-profile artistic commissions as choreographers. DDP found that for the Largest 50 U.S. ballet and classically influenced companies, only 30% of Artistic Directors were female (as of July 2022; Artistic & Executive Leadership Report). Amongst the Largest 50, women choreographed only 29% of the works programmed in the 2021-2022 season, and 46% of world premieres were choreographed by women (Season Overview 2021-2022). In the current 2022-2023 season, the percentage of works choreographed by women amongst the Largest 50 has decreased to 27% (First Look 2022-2023). Additionally, between 2018 and 2023, the Largest 50 commissioned 14 full-length premieres by women compared to 60 by men (Full-Length World and United States Premieres Data Byte).
Even in the collegiate setting, only 34% of Deans overseeing dance programs are female, while the percentage of the lowest-ranking faculty is 69% women (Collegiate Dance Programs Faculty & Administration Report). DDP’s research demonstrates the importance of advocating for gender equity in ballet. DDP’s GEI highlights companies that are making strides to provide leadership and choreographic opportunities for women in ballet.
How does the ranking work?
Dance Data Project® will be creating a proprietary algorithm which, based on participating company answers – including the company’s transparency around policies, pay and practices – combined with DDP’s research findings, will determine the company’s equity score. By taking an additive approach, companies will gain points for every area in which they are working towards equity. The categories include publishing most recent tax returns, publicly disclosing pay ranges, the adoption, publication of and training in codes of conduct, as well as reporting mechanisms for sexual assault/harassment and bullying.
We will also be assessing whether the company has adopted and promoted child/elder care leave, lactation rooms, and other accommodations for nursing mothers. DDP will also take into account any initiatives/programs promoting leadership roles for women and girls, whether commissioning new work, or offering choreographic classes to female students. The overall equity score will be accompanied by scores in each individual category.
Overall size of budget will be a major factor, as it is unreasonable to expect a tiny pick-up company to have the same resources as a $30 million annual budget company with a huge payroll and administrative infrastructure. However, for far too long, the industry (and those who cover it in the press) have made one excuse after another for failure to prevent or report what is often criminal conduct, refusing to value the dignity of its employees, or worse, its underage student community. There is ample evidence that simple preventative measures such as Codes of Conduct and “All Hands” training, accompanied by clear reporting guidelines, are both economical and effective.
In determining these rankings, DDP will also consider our own research including Part I and II of our Artistic and Executive Leadership Report, our Resident Choreographer Report, and our upcoming First Look and Season Overview Reports.
Why should your company participate in the survey?
Our goal is not to “call out” companies who do not have the resources in question. Instead, we are aiming to give general feedback on how companies can improve and work towards a more equitable, healthy, and safe workplace. This is why our survey targets specific topics and is not an exhaustive list of questions. The DDP Gender Equity Index Report will break down how companies are ranked, as well as what future changes can be made for companies to become more equitable and increase chances of getting grants, more applicants, a wider audience, and happier employees.
By participating in this survey, the company is contributing to a more equitable dance ecology. Transparency is a vital component, showing that the company is “putting in the work” to build a healthier and safer environment for everyone in the company’s specific community, whether that is dancers, students, etc.
Company participation will show its commitment to DDP’s mission in advocating for equity in dance, which in turn, will encourage and inspire others to do the same.
DDP would like to thank participating companies in advance for taking part in this survey and helping to contribute to a more equitable dance world. Companies can expect to receive a survey directly from DDP later this fall.
DDP will announce the rankings in early 2023.
For more information, please contact Communications Lead Isabelle Ramey at firstname.lastname@example.org.