Australia Council’s Investment in Female Artists
The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government's arts funding and advisory body. The Australia Council invests in female artists to undertake a wide range of artistic, skills and career development activities that supported their direct participation and engagement in cultural life.
Between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2017, the Australia Council invested just under A$14 million in grants to female artists, arts workers and cultural professionals. The success rates for women and men applying to the Council’s grants programs are broadly comparable, suggesting that female artists are not disadvantaged in relation to funding opportunities.
However, in November 2017 the Australia Council released the results of Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia by David Throsby and Katya Peteskaya at Macquarie University, the sixth in a series tracking trends in the lives and working conditions of practising professional artists. The study identified that female artists in Australia continue to earn less overall than their male counterparts. While the earnings gap between the genders has narrowed since the previous survey (2009), at 25 per cent it is significantly more than the gender pay gap of 16 per cent across the Australian workforce. The Australia Council’s own grants data suggests that male applicants tend to request higher amounts than female applicants when making grant applications. The Australia Council will explore the implications of these findings in further detail in 2018-19.
Recent research also indicates that in the Australian arts sector, women continue to be under-represented in leadership roles in some art forms (particularly music). Applications to the Australia Council’s Leadership programs consistently indicate a higher proportion of women applying to and participating, suggesting that the Council’s investment in arts leaders has the potential contribute over time to these disparities.
Expected results through the implementation of this strategic goal and measure include:
- Higher representation of women in leadership roles in the arts and cultural sector
- Higher participation of women in art forms where they are under-represented.
An evaluation of the Australia Council’s grants programs is in planning for 2018-19.
Financial resources are allocated within existing budget. Between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2017, the Australia Council invested just under A$14 million in grants to female artists, arts workers and cultural professionals.