OP-ED: The Gender Gap In Musical Theater

Courtney Rowe

In the few articles, I have read about it, I’m shocked to find that there is a lot of gender bias in the theatre industry. For example, I found that 31% of women are directors while the other 69% are men. This became clear at the Olivier awards in about 2018 when both the prize for best director and best new musical went to men.

In an article written in 2009, a journalist by the name of Patricia Cohen followed a woman, named Emily Glassberg Sands, who did experiments with male and female artistic directors and managers. She sent identical scripts to artistic directors and literary managers around the country. The women got a significantly worse rating than the men. Despite this, the female directors sold more tickets and made more money on an opening show night.

In earlier studies, plays written by women have accounted for 29% of all plays produced a percentage that is vastly out of proportion to the number of women writing for the stage, not to mention the number of women in the general population, and even though this number has doubled in the last 3 years it is still only 6% of plays worldwide.

On the contrary, it has been said that women are better actors than men because they can display a wide set variety of emotions very easily. I disagree with this statement. Many male actors are more or less equal or even better than women actors. Such as Leslie Odom Jr. and Jonathan Groff to name a few. I believe that these men have proved that they can show a variety of emotions just as many female actors can.

Gender inequality is not something that should exist in today’s world. Both men and women can have the same jobs and hobbies and be good at the same things, there is no need for there to be a huge gap between the number of directors who are female and male, everyone should have equal opportunity. This gap has gotten increasingly better over the years. Maybe after Corona, there will be room for more improvement.