City of Women statement for the International Women's Day 2023

foto: Nada Žgank

Culture, on the one hand, solidifies concepts inherited from our long patriarchal heritage and, on the other, provides a space for change; for the development of new visions, ideas and ways of life. It is a place of constant negotiation where, until recently, the voices of women, transgender people, and non-binary people, as well as the voices of other disadvantaged groups, have not been heard.

Many fields of culture insist on traditional gender relations and allow for very little change – just enough to mimic diversity while defending hegemony. And yet, exceptional women artists, transgender artists, and non-binary artists are pioneering some of the most engaging artworks of our time.

The Association for the Promotion of Women in Culture – City of Women has been advocating for gender equality in art and culture for nearly three decades. We welcome and support the fact that recently many art organisations, institutions and artists in Slovenia have also committed themselves to gender equality.

The level of gender equality in culture reflects the level of equality in society. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, Slovenia's gender equality index in 2022 was comparable to the European average, while even the member states with the highest index have not yet achieved full equality.

The cultural sector is experiencing impoverishment and feminization: large numbers of women, transgender people and non-binary people work in the cultural sector. They occupy mainly lower-paid positions in less valued fields, but remain underrepresented in managerial positions, which proves that discrimination is systemic and not occasional.

In recent years, sexual harassment and gender-based violence, which have also been the norm in the cultural sector, have finally been publicly addressed. At the same time, the recent Covid 19 pandemic has hit the sector immensely: predominantly women, because even though we work full-time, we still do most of the care work.

In short, gender stereotypes are alive and well. So, it's the right time – and the right time again – to call for gender equality in culture and in society at large.


The City of Women team