Over the last few years, it has been easy to feel positive about the progress being made by fourth-wave feminism. Unifying movements such as #MeToo, #YesAllWomen, #NiUnaMenos have risen to prominence. They have been covered widely by the media and we are starting to see the beginnings of more representative portrayal of women. There is, however, still much that needs doing to combat entrenched patriarchal ideas and norms. From tackling the gender pay gap, to addressing unequal work and education opportunities, to combating objectification and smashing down taboos. Diverse City has been putting women on the agenda since it was created in 2005. Here are a few ways in which we are acting as a catalyst for positive change for women this year.
Women and the Menopause
– 13 million women in the UK are peri/post-menopausal.
– Over 60% experience symptoms resulting in behaviour changes.
– 1 in 4 consider leaving their jobs because they don’t feel supported.
We tackle these issues heads-on in our new production, Mid Life. The show dismantles taboos around ageing as a woman and faces a subject far too often dismissed – the menopause. It is based on the stories of over 50 women and unpacks real life stories in a rallying cry for change. Have a peak in the teaser below.
“A play about the menopause? Surely no one will want to come and see it. Even the proposition seemed confrontational. In saying yes, I was outing my own resistance to something inescapable, something I realised I had always framed as something to be overcome; borne.” – Sheila Chapman, Writer of Mid Life.
Many people do want to see it. Following the success of work-in-progress performances at Ferment Fortnight and High Tide Festival in 2019, Mid Life is now on tour. After performing to sold-out houses at The Barbican earlier this month, the company returns this week (March 4 – 8, 8pm) to Bristol Old Vic. Tickets are extremely limited, book immediately to avoid disappointment.
Women and the Workplace
– Only 31% of Artistic Directors of large Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations are women.
– Men are still paid 10.6% more than women in the arts.
– Britain ranks 11th out of 18 countries in terms of gender equality at work for factors such as pay and board level representation.
Diverse City is also putting women on the agenda by taking part in change-making leadership programmes. This year, we join eight other arts organisations to partner on Women Leaders South West. This new project supports established and new female leaders in the arts through training, work experience and mentorship.
Women Leaders South West is currently looking for 16 women associates to take part in the programme. Applications are open until March 24.
In addition, Diverse City has been supporting The School for Social Entrepreneurs in creating an inclusive call out for their Creative Leadership programme.
We shared our expertise with the company to make the opportunity not only accessible for D/deaf and disabled people, but also visible to all by sharing it with our extensive female-led entrepreneurial networks.
Some Friends Who Are Also Putting Women On The Agenda
We’re all in this together. There are so many organisations that are fighting for women and we would like to give them a shout out. We could go on and on but we’ve picked two which we think are relevant here.
Have you heard of Times Up? Their manifesto’s opening line says it all: “We insist upon a world where everyone is safe and respected at work. A world where women have an equal shot at success and security. A world where no one lives in fear of sexual harassment or assault”.
How about Bechdel Theatre? To pass the Bechdel Test a work must feature at least two named womxn who talk to each other about something other than a man. Give them a follow on social media to hear about plays that pass the test: they are on Twitter and on Facebook.
Our show Mid Life definitely passes the test, just saying…