Director and playwright Julia Pascal has argued that government funding for theatres should be dependent on organisations committing to gender parity.
Pascal – one of the first female directors at the National Theatre – said the Arts Council needed to hold theatres accountable to employ 50/50 male and female workers “on every level” and that it should withdraw funding from organisations that fail to do so.
The comments were during a panel as part of a festival called Taking the Stage – Women in the Performing Arts at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes on September 13.
“If we think about the funding in Great Britain, very simply, our taxes pay into the treasury, which goes to each theatre,” Pascal said.
“If that packet were only distributed if there were a 50/50 gender split, it would change tomorrow […] Unless that change happens at the hard-nuts economic, political level, it will never happen.”
Pascal argued that that the Arts Council should “hold theatres accountable to employ 50/50 on every level”.
She added: “I don’t think any theatre should be subsidised unless they prove 50/50 in all areas.”
Founder of campaign group Equal Representation for Actresses Polly Kemp, who was also speaking on the panel, argued that more regulation of hiring processes would lead towards gender parity in the industry.
She said: “What we should be fighting for is that everybody who hires somebody in our industry should have to have a process that is audited and reported on annually.”