Women arts and culture workers
2021 data, pandemic-related changes, and long-term trends
This post investigates a number of equity issues related to women arts and culture workers, including their share of the workforce, their share of hours worked, as well as recent and longer-term trends in these key statistics.
Do women get paid for as many hours of arts and culture work as men?
Are there more women or men in the arts and culture workforce? Has that shifted over time?
There are some important things to keep in mind regarding strengths and limitations of the Labour Force Survey (LFS):
Until very recently, the LFS captured information related only to women and men, not people with diverse gender identities. Because of this limitation, this post only includes information on women and men.
This is a very “big picture” view. The definition of arts and culture workers includes 50 occupation groups, including heritage occupations (e.g., librarians, museum workers, archivists), cultural occupations (e.g., designers, editors, architects), and artists (i.e., performing arts creators and interpreters, visual artists, artisans, craftspeople, and writers). See this pdf file for details.
The LFS information is available only for the full group of 50 occupations, plus a subset of nine occupations (artists), not for other subsets or individual occupations. We cannot use this data request to understand differences in trends between workers in the arts, heritage, and cultural industries.
Hours worked provides one of the best indicators of changes over time, especially in a sector where self-employment is common. (Many self-employed people lose gigs – i.e., hours worked – when times are tough but may not technically lose their job.) 65% of artists and 28% of arts and culture workers are self-employed.
Income comparisons are not provided in this post. Because the LFS questionnaire captures salaries only (not self-employment earnings), and because of the high proportion of self-employed arts and culture workers, I did not ask for income data in my LFS request.
Yesterday’s unlocked post on longer-term trends for all artists and arts and culture workers contained many more details about using the LFS to measure the arts and culture workforce.
I’ve recently written about the situation of women artists. In this post, I’ll focus on the broader occupation grouping of arts and culture workers.