For Women Only: Let’s Talk About Gender in the Museum World

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Here at Leadership Matters we are contemplating a new project. We think there are some gender issues at work in 21st century museums that need to be explored and we would like your help.

Here’s the deal: Museums are complicated places. Women’s work lives are also tricky. Museum work possesses all the same complications of life in business or another sort of non-profit, but there are differences. It’s a field popular with women; it’s still possible to get an entry level position without a graduate degree; with the exception of leadership positions, it’s not unfriendly to women who are parents; and, at least at the national level, it’s known for welcoming attitudes regarding race, gender and sexuality. On the negative side, it’s a world where many positions, particularly those in leadership, demand graduate degrees and require long hours, yet, with few exceptions, don’t pay high salaries or offer much in the way of benefits.

This isn’t meant to be a whine fest. We want to hear the good and the bad. To begin, here are two questions:

  • Are workplace challenges more acute for women if a field is under-resourced, under-appreciated, or in some instances under utilized?
  • And, how does leadership, internal decision making, and external perception change in a female dominated profession?

And, if you’re going to be at the AASLH meeting in St. Paul in two weeks, we’d like to talk with you about your experiences on the gender playing field. We’re hoping to set up a conversation or two to talk about these issues in person.  So, let us know via this post if you’d like to meet up or email Anne at  Watch for us on Twitter — we’ll be posting what we see and hear.




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