There have long been disparities in the arts with respect to inequalities for women. This, however, did not stop Lady Gaga and her infamous meat-dress from great exposure and critical acclaim in the fashion world as well as the world of pop music. Furthermore, gourmet cooking is still dominated by male chefs, although, we all know who makes the best bread and meatloaf — mom.
Women have created art since the days of the cave dwellers, although, by the lack of notation in the annals of art history books you might believe this were not the case. Structural barriers have prevented even the most talented women from receiving acknowledgement for their contributions to the art world, as indeed, women were deflected from the great genres of oil painting, architecture and music composition. Textiles and artwork that did double-duty as utilitarian creations were considered ordinary, despite examples of extraordinary creative skill.
Today, women have entered virtually every area of the arts, from digital media and film, to literature, music and interdisciplinary arts. However, some work remains to fund women fully so that they can make a living from their chosen field. Organizations devoted to supporting women in the arts are becoming mainstream, many having begun in the 1980s and 1990s. One example is the Australian Women’s Art Register (AWAR,) which exists to archive and promote the work of Australian based female artists.
For anyone in Washington, D.C., a very worthwhile museum to visit is the National Museum of Women in the Arts, which is wholly dedicated to celebrating the work of women artists from around the world. Housed in a glorious Renaissance Revival building, there are rooms full of history from the women who first entered the world of Rock and Roll, to the artwork of women silversmiths from the late 17th and 18th centuries. One popular exhibit features photo-portraits of various women sculptors, painters, designers, dancers and more who have helped shape the role of women over the past century. It is, truly, an inspiring display for everyone.