Where are the women? Part 2 report published

Stellar Quines and Christine Hamilton Consulting have published a new report analysing numbers of women in creative roles in subsidised theatres in Scotland – and the results are broadly positive.

Stellar Quines commissioned Christine Hamilton to carry out the research as a follow up to her original Where are the women? report released in 2016 which covered the year 2014/15.

The new research covering 2019/20 was carried out by Christine Hamilton Consulting and Fraser White of Consult:Result. Quantitative data were collected and analysed for 26 companies and included 1,338 creative roles. The research findings show that, in many areas, there has been an increase in the percentage of women in roles in 2019/20 compared to 2014/15.

Findings include:
  • 48% of creative roles across all categories were undertaken by women (39% in 2014/15)
  • 54% of theatre companies had women in artistic leadership roles (38% in 2014/15)
  • 50% of theatre companies were artistically led solely by women (17% in 2014/15)
  • 63% of set and costume designers were women (29% in 2014/15)
  • 75% of translator and adaptor roles were undertaken by women (33% in 2014/15)
  • 28% of lighting designers were women (6% in 2014/15)
  • 27% of composers, musical directors and sound designers were women (11% in 2014/15)
  • 52% of performers were women (46% in 2014/15)
  • 48% of directors of shows were women (47% in 2014/15)
  • 41% of commissioned playwrights were women (39% in 2014/15)

Stellar Quines and Christine Hamilton believe these findings imply that lessons have been taken on board by the Scottish theatre industry since the original Where are the women? report. This new report undertaken in 2020 provides a picture of near gender parity in Scottish theatre pre-COVID and is a benchmark against which future developments can be measured following COVID-19 restrictions.

The report also argues that Scottish theatre is leading the way in gender parity, compared to research from other countries in Europe looking at underrepresentation of women in the arts, including:

  • England: What Share of the Cake? – Sphinx (2019)
  • France: Où sont les femmes? – Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatique (2012 – 17)
  • Spain: La Asociación Clásicas y Modernas (2019)

Jemima Levick, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Stellar Quines, commented:

“We are really heartened to see these improvements since Christine’s original report.  It suggests that the Scottish theatre industry took notice and acted to reverse some of the cripplingly low figures previously reported. The new report enables Stellar Quines to understand where there are still gaps and how we might address those. We created our M*****classes programme as a direct response to Christine’s original research. This opportunity provides women in Creative Designer and Production roles with hands on workshops alongside leaders in the field, to increase confidence and skills, ensuring that they are viable candidates for these roles. Some of this has begun to pay off which is really hopeful.

“Crucially, our next move is to ensure that further qualitative research begins: looking at the size and scale of productions being worked on, how strategy and decision making is evolving, the roles that haven’t yet been recorded here and, most importantly, the intersectional picture so that we better understand how diversity sits across these figures. While this is Christine’s last piece of formal research, it is just the beginning for Stellar Quines and we are excited to continue where she leaves off.”

Christine Hamilton commented:

“This is a good news story. Real progress has been made on equality of opportunity for women in Scottish theatre. The task now is to sustain these gains and build on where we are today. 51% of the population is female. However, we cannot ignore the difficulties facing women from minorities who make up this 51%. That’s the challenge that still faces us.”

In addition to analysing data for the 26 publicly funded theatre companies in Scotland in 2019/20, Where are the women? Part 2 also examines figures for the six highest funded theatres. While 55% of artistic directors in Scotland as a whole were women, in these highest funded theatres, men occupied five out of six artistic director roles. However, the report finds that the gender make-up of these highest-funded theatres’ productions is broadly reflective of creative roles in Scottish theatre as a whole in 2019/20, with 50% of all creative roles at these six theatres undertaken by women.

Where are the women? Part 2 analysed data for 26 subsidised theatres in Scotland for the year 2019/20. In the previous report for 2014/15, there were 24 subsidised theatres. The new report found a drop in the total number of creative roles: 1,338 in 2019/20 compared with 1,698 in 2014/15. However, the report suggests that this drop in number of roles was due in part to a rise in co-productions.

Download the full Where are the women? Part 2 report 


Where are the women? Part 2 was commissioned with financial support from The Pump House Trust.

For more information visit our Where are the women? page.