Among Berlin’s hard-up artists, gender pay gap is ‘hidden scandal’: study

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Among Berlin’s hard-up artists, gender pay gap is ‘hidden scandal’: study
An exhibition in the Urban Nation Museum For Comtemporary Art. Photo: DPA

A study released on Wednesday by the Institute for Strategy Development (IFSE) found a gender pay gap among Berlin artists significantly higher than the global average.


Female artists in the Berlin art scene earn on average 28 percent less than their male counterparts, the study found.

In an already poorly paid industry, women earn on average €8,390 a year compared to €11,662 for men, what the IFSE described as "a hidden scandal.” That puts the gender pay gap in Germany’s most important city for fine arts far above the 21 percent average in the arts world.

The survey revealed how precarious ´life as an artist in the German capital is, regardless of one’s gender. 80 percent actually make a loss on their art while only one in ten lives exclusively from their artistic work. Meanwhile, a whopping 90 percent of all artists also survive on their pensions when they retire - more than half of them only expect a pension of €280 a month or less.

But women have a harder time surviving from their art. While 13 percent of male artists live exclusively from their work, the same is true of only 8 percent of women.

In line with national averages, nine in ten female artists end up being the one caring for a child if a couple separate. Seven in ten female artists told the researchers that they experience disadvantage at work due to their familial situation, compared to 25 percent of men.

In other findings, almost one in three women had experienced sexual harassment in the professional environment.

Galleries are also much more likely to present the work of male artists than that of females. At the upcoming Gallery Weekend Berlin, there will be 40 percent more works by male artists displayed than works by female artists.

"Most of the numbers were expected, but I was alarmed by how low the pension expectancy of the artists actually is. Equally frightening are the experiences described by female artists regarding sexualized abuse of power," says study author Hergen Wöbken.

Some 1,745 artists took part in the study, which was conducted in cooperation with the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin. The participating artists have had about 3,200 solo exhibitions together in the last three years and participated in almost 10,000 group exhibitions.


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