University Study Examines Workplace Discrimination and Harassment in Technical Theater

A new study conducted by Caitlyn Garrity, a recent graduate of Milliken University in Decatur, Illinois, finds that in theatrical disciplines, the fields of design, production, and technical theatre are dominated by men, with the exception of costume design. Garrity’s honors program thesis project conducted over two years surveyed women professionals in the field to determine why such a gender gap exists in theatrical production occupations.

Garrity found that there were two key obstacles faced by women in these fields: gender discrimination and a lack of support for working parents. Some 90 percent of respondents to Garrity’s survey reported having experienced a negative work environment, gender-based harassment, and/or pay disparity. Four out of five respondents reported a negative workplace. More than three quarters of respondents reported harassment on the job and more than half said they were not paid equally to men. The fields with the highest instances of harassment were in sound design, lighting production, and lighting design.

Half of the professionals surveyed reported leaving the field, citing discrimination, workplace harassment, and lack of support for parents as their reasons.

Garrity states that “technical theatre has an obligation to uphold a positive workplace environment for all people and provide support for parents. Without this welcoming environment, we will lose countless artists and their skills, further shrinking the pool of theatre practitioners to a select few.”

The study, “Building a Better Workplace: Women Increasingly Abandon Technical Theatre Over Lack of Parity and Equity,” was published in the quarterly magazine Theatre Design and Technology. It may be found here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply