Why are there so few women in art?

I have had another article published by Parkstone International.

You can read it here. Please do let me know what you thought.

7 thoughts on “Why are there so few women in art?

Add yours

    1. I blame Christianity.

      What if Christ had been Christina?

      What if a Matriarchal philosophy had dominated the last 2000 years? Think of Greek and Egyptian goddesses, powerful, compelling deities with just as important roles in society. Then came that good-for-nothing Christ…


      1. Christianity certainly played a big role. The written word of men from 2k years ago obviously really hard to ignore now for many. It’s not just the art world this penetrates into, it is everything. I still have men discriminate against me without even knowing it. For many years I did a job where my male counterparts were paid a lot more money than me. In meeting people will look to the men in the room for answers, not expecting me to know. I have even been asked if I am there to take the minutes. So it isn’t surprising that female artists really struggle to get noticed when in everyday life we still witness these ingrained acts of sexism.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Swedish epidemiologist Hans Rosling has some great videos on the impact of empowering women across the planet. I’m personally in favor of excluding men from high public office. Testosterone and arrogance has no place in government. Maybe in another 100 years humanity will enter another matriarchal epoch.


  1. I like that you share artists who you think deserve more attention. Kay Sage, who was married to Yves Tanguy, also made some really interesting Surrealist paintings. I find Leonor Fini intriguing, and more interesting than a lot of her male counterparts. Just a couple off the top of my head who I think people don’t know about, but who’s work I really like.

    As to why women are underrepresented in visual art, of course you are right that in the past women didn’t even get a chance to have careers. But once we get closer to our own time, we see more women – Mary Cassatt was infinitely more successful that Vincent Van Gogh in her lifetime – but not as many as in literature. If you go back and look at the Pulitzer Prizes for literature in the last century, women were represented on par with men going back to the 20’s. I don’t imagine women were more discriminated against in visual art than in literature – if anything, I’d predict the opposite – but I could be wrong.

    The difficulty in naming recent female artists is compounded by the difficulty on naming any contemporary artists. Among the moderns, surely people have heard of Geoergia O’Keeffe, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Bourgeois, and Joan Mitchell. Do they not know Paula Rego? Leonara Tanning? Once we get more contemporary there are lots of women, and everyone knows Marina Abramovic. Yoko Ono anyone? Kara Walker? Milo Moire has made a bit of a splash for herself. Catherine Opie? (OK, I know here because she was my photography teacher, but she’s also well established at this point). Once you get over 50, like me, it’s hard to name anyone. I can probably prattle off a few more than most, but I did go to art school. And there are probably still a lot more living male than female successful artists, but I think that’s changing fast, and the contemporary art scene outside of the blue-chip art world may even favor women. As a SWM, I often get the feeling I need not even apply.

    The massive popularity of Hilma Klint (which is well deserved) testifies to a contemporary audience being, I like to think, more open to female artists.

    Some of my favorite living artists are women, and virtually unknown, which is why I featured them in blog posts (though my blog isn’t going to kickstart anyone’s career, including mine). Suzzan black makes very difficult and challenging paintings about domestic violence against women: https://artofericwayne.com/2019/12/16/the-harrowing-figurative-paintings-of-suzzan-blac/
    Amy Regutti makes fantastic, surrealist paintings which center on women: https://artofericwayne.com/2018/09/28/the-tantalizingly-mysterious-painted-figures-of-amy-regutti/

    I’d really hope that people would NOT make gender a significant factor in deciding what art they like, one way or the other. To do so is to miss the point of art altogether.


    1. Thanks. Sadly not everyone is so up on female artists.

      Certainly not many consider the demonised muse, Yoko Ono as one.

      The fact is women, while carving a name out for themselves still don’t get heard off half as much as men. Their work doesn’t sell for the astronomical prices and they don’t get their names in the history books with quite the same fanfare.

      You have to go out if your way to know about many of these artists and their full body of work.

      Liked by 1 person

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