More women are needed in top-ranking arts posts, says Culture minister

Britain's creative industries are lagging behind other sectors in the fight for gender equality with leading arts institutions suffering from a dearth of women in high-ranking positions, the Culture minister Margaret Hodge has warned.

Outlining the "huge challenge" facing the arts world, Ms Hodge said it had a "longer way to go than other industries" before it achieved sufficient diversity. Far too few women occupied positions in the boardrooms and non-executive positions of the country's top arts institutions, she added. "Ironically, this sector has a longer way to travel to really reflect diversity than other sectors," she said. "There is the challenge around women not just in executive positions but also in non-executive positions... We need to ensure barriers are removed."

Despite the notable exceptions of some women, including Jude Kelly, artistic director of the South Bank Centre, who have risen to leading positions in the arts world, almost all the key arts roles are occupied by men.

Ms Hodge's comments came as some of the industry's leading figures met at a review of the Cultural Leadership Programme, a £12m Government-backed initiative. Graham Devlin, who helped compile the review, said the arts world should "break down the... barriers to wider representation".

Several senior figures within performing and visual arts came out in support of Ms Hodge. Diane Lees, the director designate of the Imperial War Museum, who is also part of the Women Leaders in Museums Network, said not enough women made it to the top.

"There are huge numbers of women in the sector but they are not rising to the top or they were not previously rising to the top," she said. "It's about creating a welcoming environment. Because of the way globalisation and the way organisations are changing, there's a strong need for women's style of leadership which is about being consultative and having a more nurturing approach."

Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, half of whose trustees are women, said: "We have a good number of senior women working in the museums sector and public galleries but not enough contribute as directors of the largest institutions."

Alistair Spalding, the artistic director of Sadler's Wells theatre, said keeping women in the industry was "10 times more difficult" due to expenses that came with motherhood, especially when it was difficult to survive at the early stages of a career where wages are low.

Chris Smith, the former culture secretary and the current director of the Clore Leadership Programme, called for more training programmes. "Part of the answer to the question [about lack of diversity] lies in investment in training," he said.

But Venu Dhupa, the British Council director of arts, said: "It's not about endless training courses but encouraging people to envision themselves in a position of authority, and being able to sustain that in a climate that does not always accommodate diversity."

10 men, two women – British art's most powerful

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Galleries (Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives)

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum

Vikki Heywood, Executive director of Royal Shakespeare Company

Jude Kelly, Artistic director of the South Bank Centre

Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery

Charles Saumarez Smith, Chief executive of the Royal Academy

Chris Frayling, Chairman of The Arts Council

Nicholas Hytner, Artistic director of National Theatre

Tony Hall, Chief executive of Royal Opera House

Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival

Roger Wright, Director of The Proms music festival

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power