2014 UNESCO Report on Gender Equality and Culture


Download the Full Report (PDF): English | French

UNESCO’s report "Gender Equality: Heritage and Creativity", first published in English and French in autumn 2014, vividly demonstrates the need for deeper debate, research and awareness-raising on the need for equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls in the fields of heritage and creativity. Founded on UNESCO’s commitment to advancing human rights, including women’s rights, in cultural life, the report acknowledges culture as the enabler for all people, regardless of their gender to develop to their full potential. 

Initiated by the Culture Sector of UNESCO, the report draws together for the first time existing research, policies, case studies and statistics on gender equality and women's empowerment in culture provided by the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, government representatives, international research groups and think-tanks, academia, artists and heritage professionals. It includes recommendations for governments, decision-makers and the international community, within the fields of creativity and heritage.

To date, women have been particularly marginalized from cultural life, facing numerous barriers to equally access, contribute to and participate in film, theatre production, arts, music and heritage, hindering them from developing their full potential and impeding global sustainable and inclusive social development.  

The gender diagnosis in the Report  identifies symptoms that are familiar in other areas of socio-economic life: limited participation of women in decision-making positions (the 'glass ceiling'); segregation into certain activities ('glass walls'); restricted opportunities for ongoing training, capacity-building and networking; women's unequal share of unpaid care work; poor employment conditions (part-time, contractual work, informality. etc.) as well as gender stereotypes and fixed ideas about culturally appropriate roles for women and men, not necessarily based on the consent of those concerned. Lack of sex-disaggregated cultural data is a factor concealing the gender gaps and challenges from policy-makers and decision-makers.

The Report is accompanied by videos, photographs, and interviews with artists, creators and other cultural professionals across the globe.


Eight Recommendations

1. Ensure full implementation of international conventions and declarations in the field of culture in line with other human rights instruments and in respect of gender equality and diversity in order to broaden the creative horizons of women and men, boys and girls, and to ensure equal access to and participation in cultural life.

2.  Strengthen the evidence base through regular and systematic collection and dissemination by national statistical offices of sex-disaggregated data in all areas of the cultural sector: including employment, education, capacity-building, participation and consumption.

3.  Develop and apply gender-responsive policies and strategies in culture that empower all members of society, taking into consideration the diversity of different groups and individuals, and the intersection of broader social factors and inequalities that may compound disadvantages.

4.   Reinforce national institutional capacities to promote equal access for women and men to decision-making processes, financial resources and education in cultural fields.

5.  Establish leadership and mentoring initiatives for female creators and heritage professionals and ensure gender balance at senior leadership levels in the cultural and creative sector.

6.  Support international, national and local awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns that tackle gender stereotypes and discrimination in all aspects of cultural life.

7.   Encourage and involve all members of society in strategies promoting gender equality in culture. This includes working in partnership with all groups and communities concerned to promote sustainable solutions for gender-equal access, participation in and contribution to culture.

8.   Support interdisciplinary research on gender equality in heritage and the creative industries that involve groups and communities concerned, and consider the complexity and diversity of gender relations and the underlying power structures. 

The Report was made possible through the financial support of the Wanda Group, (People’s Republic of China). The Spanish edition was financially supported by the International Center for the Advancement of Human Rights (Argentina).

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