Study Finds There’s (Still) a Gender Gap in North American Museum Directorships

The Gender Gap Report 2017, published on March 22 by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), found that representation and pay equity for female museum directors is getting incrementally better, but a gender gap persists.

The AAMD is a 100-year-old association, with 242 members from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The study includes directors of six main types of museums: encyclopedic, college/university, contemporary, culturally specific, single artist, and single medium.

The association’s 2014 Gender Gap Report found that less than half of directorships at art museums were held by women, and that their salaries were lower, especially at the largest museums, determined by operating budget.

According to the new survey, 100 of the 210 responding institutions (nearly half of which were encyclopedic museums) were headed by women, who earned, on average, 73 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.

And the larger the museum, the bigger the gender gap. 54 percent of museums with operating budgets under $15 million were run by women, compared to 30 percent of museums with operating budgets over $15 million. Of the 13 highest-budget museums, men run 12. Relative to operating budget, women’s salaries are lower than men’s.

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Chris Alexakis