By Rose Oser and Shannon Stockwell
The Women’s Leadership Project began in 2013 when A.C.T. partnered with Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), a Massachusetts-based institute devoted to gender-focused research, to do a formal study into gender disparity in regional theaters.
Now, after more than three years of research, A.C.T. and WCW are excited to share the findings of that study at the Women’s Leadership Conference at The Strand Theater (1127 Market Street, San Francisco) on August 22, 2016.
The morning session is free and open to the public (RSVP here to reserve your spot). The WCW researchers will share their findings, and Artistic Director Carey Perloff will lead a Q&A with a panel of arts leaders. In the afternoon, selected participants will proceed to The Rueff to discuss the research and create strategies for change.
By examining a broad range of potential factors, we want to determine the specific barriers that have prevented women from rising through the ranks to positions of artistic or executive leadership. Using the information from the study, theaters across the country may be able to develop theater leadership that better represents all of our employees and patrons.
The main goal for the conference is to share the findings of the study and facilitate a dialogue about this issue with a diverse group of academic, artistic, and policy leaders. In addition to increasing awareness of the current infrastructure, the conversation will consider concrete next steps to making our leadership more diverse.
While the research and the action items will be tightly focused on theaters, we believe the lessons could be applied to a wide range of arts organizations. We hope to identify ways in which access to the national community of performing arts could become a more open, inclusive process.