For a long time, there was a preponderance of white cars on the roads and in the dealerships: when I asked several dealers why, they said that people preferred white cars. My inference is somewhat different: if “people” are anything like me, they prefer walking onto a lot and buying a car rather than waiting around for an ordered color to be delivered.
When statistics were released in 2009 (Discrimination and the Female Playwright), there were no female playwrights represented in New York theaters. The current season was touted as the “year of the woman,” with five whole plays by women.
Anecdotal evidence shows that the majority of Literary Managers around America are men, tho Artistic Directors and AADs are more evenly distributed along gender lines, yet they have all proven themselves more likely to hire and produce the works of men. The majority of actors/ singers/dancers working on Broadway in almost any season are men.
I look at the acting MFA program tied to a local LORT, a program that gives 8 young actors in each 3-year-class a free ride. Each class always comprises 5 men and 3 women. I took the Artistic Director to task and he replied that there are so many more roles for men that the class ratio was necessary for properly training the actors. Sound like my car story?
There has been a very, very lively discussion on the ICWP listserv calling for a strike by women playwrights, and I must ask, if we struck, who would notice? Seems to me that women playwrights have been infected with the “me” generation’s sense of immediacy when it comes to desires.
How to have more woment playwrights’ work produced? As Robin Rice Lichtig says, “Write powerful plays. Send them out. Network. Go to plays written by women. Support each other, sisters!”
How long have American women actively sought equality? Less than 200 years. How long have women been society’s second-raters? More than 6000 years. If we adopt a modicum of patience, rather than the adolescent knee-jerk behavior that commerce appears to have instilled throughout our society, and if we mix that with a soupçon of the long-view, our rewards seem imminent.
We’ve come a long way, baby. And if we stay the course, there’s not much farther to go.