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I am still a fan of the Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn & do my best to act on some lines from his “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” (Stealing Fire album, 1983) that go “nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight / Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.”

I firmly believe gender pay equity in museums is worth having.

Astoundingly, this issue originally was placed before the American Association of Museums by the Women’s Caucus in 1975—forty-four (44!) years ago (Baldwin et al. 2016). The evidence from that time forward is clear (see references provided in the draft resolution below): women with equivalent training & experience are paid less than men doing the same jobs in museums. Little or no progress has been made in addressing this blatant injustice in our field over the past half century.

Figure 1: Comparison of female & male art museum directors’ average salaries (Treviño et al. 2016:  Figure 3, p. 9)

NOTE: Thanks to the comment below from Joan Baldwin at the Leadership Matters blog stating  “the pay gap is nuanced and complicated by race”—[to say nothing about being being worsened thereby]. I add the following figure on 13 March 2019.

Figure 2. As located on the Gender Equity in Museums Movement web site page “A Call for Gender Equity in the Museum Workplace” (Baldwin et al. 2016).

Therefore, I am again proposing that concerned museum workers start kicking at this darkness by undertaking some political action at the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) National Conference AGM to be held at some point TBA during its 14-17 April 2019 gathering in Toronto.

See the CMA web site for details about Early Bird registration for the conference that expires on 1 March 2019 (Canadian Museums Association 2019).

My primary aims here are to:

  1. raise interest concerning this issue among CMA members
  2. create some momentum in other regional & national professional museum organisations
  3. attract a CMA member(s) to move and/or second the following draft resolution
  4. obtain input into massaging its wording as readers see fit
  5. generate support for this direction for CMA &
  6. pass a resolution to instigate relevant planning & actions by the CMA & its members to begin to eliminate the gender pay gap in the museum industry.

I believe strongly that continuing silence surrounding the shameful lack of gender pay equity in the museum industry gives our consent to the discriminatory injustice of paying women less than men for doing the same jobs in museums—to say nothing about the illegality of this practice in some Canadian jurisdictions.

Please consider & comment on the following draft resolution.

Work-shopping is my preferred option here. I would appreciate CMA members volunteering to second and/or to move this—or a revised or similar—motion to be forwarded to the CMA Resolution Committee well in advance of the second week of April 2019.

For additional background beyond the references cited below, please refer to previous related blog posts on 18 January, 22 & 26 March 2018.

DRAFT Resolution Re Gender Pay Equity Action for 2019 CMA AGM, Toronto

WHEREAS: solid evidence abounds from Statistics Canada and elsewhere that women employees across job categories in all sectors earn only $0.87 for every dollar earned by men doing the same work (Moyser 2017; Cornish 2016: 6, 16 passim; cf. United Nations Human Rights Committee 2015);

AND WHEREAS: it has been well-documented for many years that women employees in museums experience similar gender discriminatory pay levels that range from 69 cents to an average 77 cents (Treviño et al. 2016: 9, 10) for every dollar earned by men doing the same jobs (cf. Steel 2018; American Alliance of Museums 2017; Baldwin et al. 2016);


this annual general meeting of the Canadian Museums Association direct the Board to proceed expeditiously to consult interested CMA members, the literature on pay equity in museums, and to report to the 2020 CMA AGM on ways and means for museums to implement gender pay equity in our field as one strategy to show a way forward to address  this world-wide problem (cf. Janes & Sandell 2019).

For all museums workers, not just women, “Why Are We Tolerating This?” pay deficit between men & women (cf. Baldwin 2018)?

This blatant inequity in museum workplaces can never be solved by doing nothing about it! Speaking up & taking concerted collective action to instigate change at Canada’s national professional museum organisation’s AGM are essential.

Let’s start kicking some darkness out of the museum business during the CMA AGM this April.

References Cited:

American Alliance of Museums. 2017. “News Release: American Alliance of Museums Partners with 11 Regional and State Museum Associations to Produce 2017 Salary Survey: Comprehensive Study Analyzes 52 Museum Positions on National, Local Levels,” 20 June. Washington: American Alliance of Museums https://www.aam-us.org/2017/06/20/american-alliance-of-museums-partners-with-11-regional-and-state-museum-associations-to-produce-2017-salary-survey/  (accessed 22 February 2019).

Baldwin, Joan H. 2018. “Museum Women: Why Are We Tolerating This?” Leadership Matters blog posted: October 15, 2018 https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/museum-women-why-are-we-tolerating-this/ (accessed 22 February 2019).

Baldwin, Joan H. et al. 2016. “A Call for Gender Equality in the Museum Workplace.” Gender Equality in Museums Movement https://www.genderequitymuseums.com/call-to-action (accessed 22 February 2019).

Canadian Museums Association. 2019. “CMA Early Bird registration closes March 1, 2019.” Ottawa: Canadian Museums Association web page https://www.museums.ca/site/conferences_national (accessed 22 February 2019).

Cornish, Mary. 2016. Every Step You Take: Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap Ladder. Toronto: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario Office. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/every-step-you-take (accessed 10 July 2018).

Janes, Robert R. & Sandell, Richard. 2019. Museum Activism. London & New York: Routledge.

Moyser, Melissa. 2016. Women and Paid Work. Ottawa: Statistics Canada https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14694-eng.htm (accessed 22 February 2019).

Steel, Patrick. 2018. “Museum gap favours men despite more women in the top quartile.” News posted 11.04.2018 [11 Apr. or 4 Nov.?] Museums Association (UK) https://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/11042018-pay-gap-larger-than-national-average-at-six-museum-and-heritage-organisations (accessed 22 February 2019).

Treviño, Veronica; Voss, Zannie Giraud; Anagnos, Christine; & Wade, Allison D. 2016. The Ongoing Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships. New York: Association of Art Museum Directors. https://staging.aamd.org/sites/default/files/document/The%20Gender%20Gap%20in%20Art%20Museum%20Directorships_0.pdf (accessed 9 July 2018).

United Nations Human Rights Committee. 2015. “Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Canada” http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhskswUHe1nBHTSwwEsgdxQHJBoKwgsS0jmHCTV%2fFsa7OKzz9yna94OOqLeAavwpMzCD5oTanJ2C2rbU%2f0kxdos%2bXCyn4OFm3xDYg3CouE4uXS (accessed 22 February 2019).