Australian female artists are paid 30% less than men, new study reveals

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The Guardian

Kelly Burke | 11 November 2020

Professional female artists in Australia can expect to earn on average 25% less than their male counterparts, according to new research released on Wednesday by Macquarie University – and that figure rises to 30% when it comes to how much money professional female artists can expect to earn from the work they produce.

The grim findings are the result of an analysis of income data from 826 working artists across multiple art forms – from visual arts and music to performance and writing – in 2016 and 2017, conducted by the university’s economics department.

Four years ago the gender pay gap between full-time working men and full-time working women across every industry and occupational category in Australia was 16%. In the succeeding interval, that gap has narrowed to 13.9% – the equivalent of $242.90 per week – according to data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The university drew upon the Australia Council’s national survey of practising professional artists, Making Art Work, then set about exploring the variables that might explain the gaping gender pay gap.

A co-author of the preliminary paper, Dr Sunny Y Shin, told Guardian Australia that the discrepancy between male and female earnings could still not be explained after taking into account multiple mitigating factors.

“We looked at standard questions. For example, are women simply working less hours? That’s not true, the hours are similar,” she said.