Women and Art – Not Posing but Painting!

A recent news item caught my eye on women and art. It seems when it comes to gender equality the art world is just as conservative as the rest of the world and women have been poorly represented. No huge surprises there.

Few women artists make it into the major galleries despite, (according to the experts) being talented enough to do so. Back in 2007 the Tate Modern was admitting that it needed to buy more works by women, not as part of a positive discrimination policy but because they had neglected this valuable source of art in the past.

Women Only?

Do we need women only sections any more? Opinion is divided; I have mixed feelings about it too. By and large I don’t think exclusive women’s groups in organisations are helpful as they can serve to ghettoise women’s issues as “only women’s issues”. In reality the issues around discrimination of women are a matter of interest to the whole organisation (or should be as too few senior women affects profitability!). Everyone should be involved and if we seriously want change we need everyone to sign up to it. That doesn’t mean I’m against groups/movements to redress the balance, or support groups for women.  Far from it; I just think we need to be careful how we position ourselves.

Well, apparently the Tate Gallery are planning to have an exhibition of women’s work and a women only section. Listening to the item blurry with sleep I thought “Oh no, more fodder for the anti feminists”. But on reflection I think it’s a step on the way. Highlighting women as a separate category shouldn’t be necessary but it is. And the net effect is to draw attention to the issues and show the art gallery going public what they’ve been missing!

And then one day the idea of a women only section will be seen as quaint and antiquated because there will be true gender representation across all areas.

What do you think about women only groups?

Photo Credit: José A. Warletta

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Posted on June 13th, 2011 by

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