State of the Arts Report


Underpaid, underrepresented, underpromoted: describing women’s ceiling glass in the European Creative Cultural Industries 

Efforts on the promotion of the equal share of opportunities for women in the European cultural arena are still not enough. That’s one of the conclusions you can derive from a report that has been recently published by the Wom@rts Project. Aimed to reduce the significant lack of data on the participation of women as agents and also as consumers in the European cultural life, the report gathers a wide range of legal documents, directives, programmes and scientific studies on the promotion of equality in the CCI’s between 2000 and 2017, and analyses them in order to identify urgent scenarios to take action. It also drafts a list of measures, which could be implemented by European authorities, and several target groups (from civil society to decision-makers) for changing the current situation. 


Coordinated by Auditorio de Galicia, the lead partner of the Wom@rts project, with the support of the Creative Europe Programme, the report offers a cross-sectorial diagnosis, which covers all the subsectors of the Cultural and Creative Industries, and address both traditional and digital scenarios. Thus, the so-called State of the Arts Report about the situation of women artists and professionals in the Cultural and Creative Industries sector in Europe, elaborated throughout 2018, seeks to present a full picture of the presence of women in the European Cultural arena, offers a view of some existing networks an associations which try to give a mayor voice to women in Arts and Culture, a non-exhaustive but inspiring list of Good Practices from different scopes and geographical origins, and some arguments to promote change with a series of recommendations. 


It concludes that despite the legislative efforts developed by European Union, the existing general statistics show that women are clearly and shamefully underrepresented in the vast majority of the subsectors of the CCIs and in cultural life.


Leisure Time: traditional and digital consumptions


The report highlights that although men benefit from more leisure time (almost and hour per day), women spend more time than male in traditional cultural activities in almost all EU countries and cultural subsectors (live performances, music, cinema, museums…), with some rare exceptions, as Romania and Portugal, where males dominate live performances activities in their spare time, or comic festivals, where women’s participation is slightly lower than men’s.




This balance changes when we consider digital leisure contents, that is, activities related to Internet and technology or social media communication. In this case, we can observe that, in general and opposed to the traditional cultural activities, men spend more time than women engaged in digital leisure activities, such as playing online games, watching films or listening music and radio programmes.


Cultural employment, women’s presence, support and recognition: Important gaps 


The research concludes that in terms of total employment, and according to according to Eurostat’s Culture statistics, more men than women are working in the culture in the E.U.: Men continued to account for a larger share of the EU labour market in 2014 (54 %). Their share in cultural employment was higher than women’s, at 53 %, mirroring the overall ratio.

However, women are a majority of cultural workers in a majority of

countries analysed (24 countries employ more women, against only 9 countries that employ more men). This slight difference is due mostly because more men than women are employed in some important E.U. countries in terms of size and (workforce) and cultural activities, such as Spain, France, the UK or the Netherlands, among others).


The report also points out that gender cultural employment gap is more stressed in some important countries in terms of workforce and cultural activities, such as Spain, France or the UK. However, women are a majority of cultural workers in a majority of countries analysed (24 countries, out of 33), with particularly high presence in Baltic countries, where their share rises to over 60%. 


As the research suggests, glass ceiling is still a problem en Europe, as it occurs in other sectors of the economy. Different reports and statistics demonstrate that women, even being more qualified than men, averagely earn less than men, and have a lower access to managerial positions. Data provided from selected film schools,  high ranked universities in Arts and Humanities or highly frequented museums showed that, in general, men are the managers in all subsectors (87% of the cases).




Throughout the recent history, women artists and creators have also suffered from a lack of recognition, with a clearly lower presence in the lists of the most prestigious international and national awards (i.e., only 14 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since its creation, accounting for 12% of the Laureates in this category). 


Good Practices and Networks


Finally, the report offers a catalogue with 25 Good Practices examples (manifesto’s, pledges, initiatives) from different scopes, sub-sectors and origins that are provoking and promoting debates, developing networking activities or “empowering” women artists and professionals from the arts, culture or media. It also includes and a list of a wide range of associations and networks aiming at giving a major voice of women and at promoting a major equal-share presence both, at national or international levels.


The Wom@rts Project


Wom@rts was a large-scale cooperation and non-profit project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. From an interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial perspective, Wom@rts pursueded women’s equal share presence in the Arts, in terms of visibility, promotion and access to the market. Coordinated by the Auditorio de Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), Wom@rts involved a large list of public and private institutions, such as: Fundación Municipal de Cultura del Ayuntamiento de Avilés (Municipal Cultural Foundation of the Avilés City Council, Spain), WIFT (Women in Film & Television Finland), the Vilniuis Cinty Council (Lithuania), the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir and the Communauté d’Agglomération du Grand Angoulême (France), the Limerick Institute of Technology, (Ireland), the Hay Festival (United Kingdom), the Academy of Applied Arts University in Rijeka (Croatia), and the gallery UGM Maribor (Slovenia).


Between 2018 and 2021), Wom@rts implemented a series of activities aimed to foster the equal share of presence of women in the arts, such as: the formulation and promotion of a charter in defence of gender equality practices in culture; the  creation of a network of renowned artists and intellectuals committed to the cause and project; the development of an international online platform to promote women artists; the organization of artistic residencies in the fields of engraving/printmaking, comics and digital/lens-based arts (mobility of emerging women artists); the opening and roaming of a commemorative exhibition of the 70th Anniversary of the publication of the book of Simone de Beauvoir “The Second Sex”, with works from the artistic residences; the organisationand coordination of masterclasses, workshops and conferences, training courses for creators and cultural entrepreneurs; or the participation of artists and intellectuals in different international cultural festivals, among other activities.

With the support of the
Creative Europe Programme of the European Union