26 September 2023

Arts Council finds pay gap off colour

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The Australia Council for the Arts has found through its research that a “triple penalty” pay gap exists for Australian artists based on their gender and cultural background.

Executive Director of Strategic Development and Partnerships at the Council, Georgie McClean said the report Culture and the Gender Pay Gap for Australian Artists built on previous research which revealed the gender pay gap in the arts was higher than that of the overall workforce.

“The latest research shows female artists with a first language other than English experience even greater levels of disadvantage in the remuneration they receive for their creative work,” Ms McClean said.

“The report also examined the gender pay gap in remote First Nations communities,” she said.

“Interestingly researchers found that while First Nations artists in remote communities earn less than other artists overall, the gender pay gap does not appear to be evident in those communities.”

Ms McClean said the most recent comprehensive data on artists’ overall incomes showed female artists earned 25 per cent less than their male counterparts (compared to a workforce pay gap of 16 per cent at the same time).

She said women also earned almost 30 per cent less from their creative work.

“Australian women are highly involved in arts, often spending more time than their male counterparts on creative practice,” the Executive Director said.

“Despite this, female artists continue to earn less than men – in fact, the pay gap in the arts is almost double the pay gap in other industries,” she said.

“This research also highlights that women who speak a first language other than English are further disadvantaged: they suffer a ‘triple penalty’ in creative earnings.

“These are systemic issues,” she said.

Ms McClean said it was not that women’s creative work – including that which drew on a range of cultural connections – was in any way less valuable.

She encouraged organisations to use the insights from the Report to ensure that all creative talents were valued and to inform strategies to ensure fair remuneration for female artists across all demographics.

The Australia Council for the Arts’ 27-page report can be downloaded at this PS News link.

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