International Women’s Day was born from a place of injustice in 1911 where over a million people took to the streets to rally against terrible working conditions and exploitation of women.
Flash forward one hundred and ten years, and the world looks very different. Women’s rights movements spurred on decades of change and now in 2021, women have made some real progress. But we still have a lot of work left to do.
As a brand that deals with First Nations artists and the promotion of their artwork, we wanted to chat a little about women in art, and more specifically, in Australia. We are passionate about celebrating women and sharing their talent with the world. This is reflected in our list of collaborating artists which is 68% female.
In 2016, Ben Neutza of the Daily Review wrote, “while women make up 74% of visual arts graduates, they make up only 40% of the artists shown by commercial galleries.”
This information came from the Countess Report, an artist-run initiative designed to “inform and influence systemic change through data collection”. The latest version of the report showed a huge improvement within the industry, showing large increases in the representation of women in commercial galleries (53% up from 39% in the previous report) and also a more than 50% representation of women in art prizes and art organisations.
While the report showed some huge and exciting improvements in many areas of the Australian arts world, the stats from one sector not only haven’t improved, but they have gotten worse. The 2019 findings showed that state-owned galleries have exhibited a measly 33.98% women (down from 36.9%).
This day isn’t just about female artists, it’s about equality for all women. This year’s theme for International Women’s day is #ChoosetoChallenge - with the idea behind the campaign being to basically call out inequality and injustice when and where you see it. It could be a conversation with a friend, or a boss, or a business. The more we speak up, the more we will continue to see change for the better.
“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.”
For more information and resources on how you can get involved, head to the International Women's Day website.