Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boys and Girls and Plays

Guest blogger Sabrina Lazarus has just posted a great entry on the Theatre Bay Area arts marketing blog The Mark-Up reacting to the much publicized study on male/female inequalities in playwriting profiled by the New York Times (and now by and NPR), as well as spread hither and yon across the blogosphere (66 blogs at the time I looked it up).

My most interesting takeaway from Sabrina's post: Rather than focusing on the much more publicized finding that female artistic directors are generally harder on women than on men, Lazarus chooses to take a longer view on the data--with a more positive conclusion. While the overall number of female playwrights submitting work for review is lower than the male counterpart group (about 18%), the percentage of the work submitted that is produced is the same percentage across gender. That is to say, regardless of gender, the rate of production is the same, even if the actual number of female playwrights that get produced is smaller (because there are fewer submissions from women--which is, admittedly, itself a problem).

The study is gigantic (over 100 pages) and messy, in that it looks at such a hot-button question and tries to address so many Big Questions. That said, it does it with more than a little nuance, which is great--a jumping off point for a fairly robust conversation, I'd say. Anyway, check it out.


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