A study by three academics shows that women get even fewer commissions in Australia than in other western democracies.
Despite this disadvantage, 29 percent of all composition students in the country are female.
Yet the figure that would make it possible to prove (or otherwise) that discrimination is taking place -the overall percentage of female professional composers (the student figure is irrelevant: commissions don’t go to students of either sex) – is absent. As it often is in reports of this nature. (See the UK reports on percentages of female composers performed which express the result as a percentage of composers from all periods, rather than 20th century and contemporary: where the statistic might have some relevance).
If discrimination is taking place, it needs to be addressed – urgently. But so many of these reports provide incomplete or skewed data that it’s tempting to draw the conclusion that the research is being commissioned to support a predetermined position; ie, it’s worthless. I’m sure that’s not the case but an issue this serious needs concrete facts, not flimsy debating points.
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