On average, women make less than men and hold fewer high-ranking positions. This even holds true in the arts.
The New York Times recently quoted another study that said out the nation’s 13 largest museums, only one is led by a woman.
In addition, a study done by the Freelands Foundation showed that between 2007 and 2013, only 27 percent of solo art shows in American museums were devoted to women.
Spelman Museum of Fine Art’s Director Andrea Barnwell Brownlee recently appeared on a panel at Emory University that addressed these issues about women in the arts and arts leadership. Moderated by the High Museum’s Emeritus Director Michael Shapiro, the panel also included Elizabeth Glassman, President and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art; and Kaywin Feldman, the Director of Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Feldman talked about discrimination she had experienced at job interviews. She said that search committees said she didn’t have the “gravitas” needed to hold directorships. Brownlee said while the discrimination she experienced isn’t as explicit, she does feel it.
“The discrimination comes in very subtle and backhanded ways,” she said in an interview with WABE’s Lois Reitzes. “When I tell people that I have made the conscientious decision to focus on work by and about women of the African Diaspora at Spelman College … it’s almost as if people want you to prove that that’s a worthy goal and mission.”
Brownlee did point out that almost half of the mid-sized and small museums in the U.S. are led by women.
You can hear more from Barnwell Brownlee and Shapiro in the interview above.