The May 2023 issue of Choral Journal is online and features an article titled “Discounting Our Colleagues: Gender Inequity in the Choral Conducting Profession” by Sierra Farquhar-Wulff. Following is a portion from the article.
Despite public discourse and trends toward gender equality in the United States, women choral conductors have continued to be considered second-class citizens in hiring practices, pay, and treatment by their peers. The College Music Society indicates that the percentage of collegiate women choral conductors has decreased from 32.95% to 25.90% from 2006 to 2020.1 Similar data from Chorus America and the National Collegiate Choral Organization show comparable decreases in the share of women choral conductors at the academic, professional, and community choir levels. . . .
In this article, I will share interviews with twelve leading women choral and orchestral conductors from across the United States, statistics from government and nonprofit studies, literature reviews, and articles, all of which share a concerning continued disparity in both the academic and professional spheres. Almost every woman interviewed experienced discrimination or felt pigeonholed into lesser-paying careers with little room for professional advancement. Most participants recounted at least one instance in which they were told they would not be as successful as their male colleagues.
This study sheds light on the lack of progress the choral conducting profession has made in nurturing equitable hiring practices, pay, and work environments for women. Many of the women in this study indicated they believe there should be more mentorship opportunities for young women conductors, that graduate programs should actively seek to diversify their student bodies, and that hiring committees must be diverse in membership and actively focused on recruiting diverse candidates.
Read the full article in the May 2023 issue of Choral Journal. acda.org/choraljournal
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