Even after being interviewed last year on this topic, I don't have many fully-formed opinions on this topic. Those I do have are inflected by the Lean In philosophy (or as I tend to think of it, the 'quit making excuses' philosophy, but that's mostly because I was uninterested when I read it in the partnering and parenting chapters).
I do think frequently about the gender split that I have a hunch is occurring in our industry: women in the marketing / curatorial / visitor services / education / collection management side of operations, men in exhibition management / facilities / business ops (of course, for every example of one you're going to find me another). And New Zealand's cup does runneth over right now with women art gallery (if not museum) directors.
Anyway. All this is a meandering preamble to two recent articles: this Washington Post feature on woman directors in the capital's museums, and this NYT article on a recent study by the AAMD on the gender split in American and Canadian directors' salaries. Some of the key findings (summarised by Jerome Weeks):
- Out of the 211 directors included in the AAMD survey, 90 directors were female; women held 42.6% of art museum directorships.
- On average, female directors earned $.79 cents for $1 that male directors earned. (In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median pay of women nationwide is 82% of that of men.)
- Segmented by operating budget, these gender disparities are concentrated in museums with a budget of over $15 million – roughly the top quarter of museums. In this segment of museums, there are fewer female directors than male directors, and female directors earn less on average than their male counterparts – $.71 cents for $1 a male earns.
- At museums with budgets under $15 million, the number of female directors is nearly equal to the number of male directors, and, on average, the women earn slightly more ($1.02 for every $1 a male director earns)