I propose to take Questions Nos. 663 and 665 together.
I am unsure to which report the Deputy is referring. I can, however, inform the Deputy that I launched a policy document entitled Gender Equality in Practice in Irish Theatre on the 9th July 2018. The policy document was crafted to encompass the individual workings and requirements of ten theatre organisations and were a result of one and half year’s work.
Gender Equality in Practice in Irish Theatre began after #WakingTheFeminists drew attention to the gender inequality that then existed within Irish theatre. This cultural phenomenon encouraged the participating theatre organisations to consider their own record in programming and supporting women within the sector and identify processes that would ensure gender parity and dignity at work in the future.
Each gender policy statement has been ratified by the boards of the organisations and each organisation has undertaken to measure their progress against their published targets on an annual basis using the #WakingTheFeminists Gender Counts guidelines.
Included in the list of measures are the following
1. Gender blind readings for plays
2. Unconscious bias training for all staff
3. Achieve equality of gender of board members
4. 50% of new play commissions to be allocated to women writers
5. Gender blind casting
6. Addition of Dignity at Work clauses to employees charter
7. Re-examination of the female canon
8. Work with third level institutions to encourage gender parity in areas that do not reflect equality of gender.
9. To achieve gender balance in programming within a 5 year period.
Up to 10 theatre companies are involved in the working group have come together to demonstrate the power of collaboration within the Cultural sector in Ireland, to share expertise, support and learnings and enhance the possibilities for women in the Irish theatre sector.
I am glad also to be able to advise the Deputy that in 2017, the Arts Council supported research commissioned by Waking the Feminists (Gender Counts – an analysis of gender in Irish theatre 2006-2015), and this work continues to inform the Council’s decisions. Separately, the Arts Council is in the final stages of developing a comprehensive Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy, which considers gender as one of 10 grounds for potential discrimination and inequity. During the course of developing that policy the Arts Council met with several representative groups from civil society and arts gender advocacy groups such as Sounding the Feminists, Fair Plé, and representatives of the former Waking the Feminists movement. I understand that it is the Council’s intention to continue to engage in discussion with these bodies and groups to ensure the effective implementation of its policy in this area.
Waking the Feminists has inspired a number of actions aimed at improving issues for female composers. Last March, I was delighted to be in a position recently to announce funding under the Creative Ireland programme to co-fund the National Concert Hall and Sounding the Feminists’ five-year initiative to promote creative work by female musicians.