National Gallery launches first Gender Equity Action Plan
08 Mar 2022
On International Women's Day, the National Gallery is launching its inaugural Gender Equity Action Plan, the first by a major public visual arts-collecting institution in Australia.
Eighteen months in the making and developed in consultation with artists, staff, Council, community, government and the visual arts sector, the National Gallery's Gender Equity Action Plan commits to:
- Accelerate gender equity in collections, programming, learning, content, marketing, and communications – onsite, online and on tour.
- Advocate for sector wide collaboration to achieve gender equity and empowerment of all in the visual arts.
- Strengthen organisational culture by fostering an equitable, diverse, and inclusive professional environment for all staff, stakeholders and audiences while addressing bias, intersectionality, and gender awareness.
- Empower participation ensuring all genders are empowered and have access to, and equal opportunities in, leadership and professional development.
- Amplify data for equity by employing data to inform strategic and operational gender equity objectives.
The National Gallery’s commitment to gender equity, demonstrated by the ongoing Know My Name initiative, has influenced the way the Gallery thinks and talks about art and how the core business of building a national collection is approached.
The National Gallery has reached gender equity in national collection acquisitions for both number and value in the 2020–2021 financial year and has engaged 480+ women artists, programed 13+ exhibitions and projects and 85+ events and programs in the Know My Name program of activities from February 2020 to 2021.
Natasha Bullock, National Gallery, Assistant Director Artistic Programs, and the Gallery's lead on the development of the Plan says: “Ensuring that all people regardless of gender, have the opportunity to reach their full potential is central to the National Gallery’s vision.”
“Across Australia and the world, arts and cultural institutions are facing the lived realities of exclusions, inequities and histories that have shaped their collections, programs and foundational structures.”
“We are now addressing the significant imbalances that exist. We advocate for change and engage with our staff, community, and partners about gender equity issues. We recognise that to effect societal change, we need to ensure our own workplace culture, policy and artistic programs demonstrate gender equity, inclusivity, and respect,” she said.
Nick Mitzevich, Director, National Gallery says: “The need for collecting institutions, including our own, to take a more proactive role in redressing the legacy of historical bias has been made increasingly obvious in recent years.”
In early 2019, the National Gallery in collaboration with the Countess Report researched its collection data and found that only 25 per cent of the Australian art collection and only 33 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection was work by women artists. This imbalance was also reflected in acquisition data: of all works acquired by the National Gallery between 2014 and 2018, only 27 per cent of works were by women artists.
The National Gallery’s Gender Equity Action Plan is a commitment and a beginning for the National Gallery, the first step to ensuring the art it collects, and displays, represents the rich and diverse composition of our country.
Read the full Gender Equity Action Plan here.
KNOW MY NAME SPECIAL EVENTS
Why Gender Equity Matters | 8 March 2022 at 8pm, Radio National Big Ideas
Join ABC’s Patricia Karvelas, art historian Julie Ewington, businesswoman and gender equity advocate Sam Mostyn and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, June Oscar AO as they discuss some of the important work that has been done to address gender equity in Australia and the solutions that are still needed to address hundreds of years of discrimination and unconscious bias.
The Exhibitionists | 8 March at 8.30pm, ABC TV
The Exhibitionists is a playful docu-comedy, celebrating women in the arts and inspired by the National Gallery's Know My Name initiative. A night locked into the National Gallery sends four female actors on a caper as they uncover a new perspective on Australian art. Searching for a way out of the hallowed halls, they sneak behind the scenes and are confronted by the fact that only 25 per cent of works in the collection are by female artists. As the night progresses, they uncover scandalous tales of sexism and forgotten works of art. Outraged, they are inspired to bring work by female artists out of the shadows, and into the light.
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Image: Justene Williams, Victory over the sun, 2016, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, © the artist.