Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Museum Professions

Department

Communication and the Arts

Advisor

Petra Chu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

n/a

Committee Member

n/a

Committee Member

n/a

Committee Member

n/a

Keywords

gender, museum, salary, pay inequity

Abstract

This thesis seeks to unpack the intricate cycle of gender discrimination and pay inequity that plagues art museums, and calls for top-down solutions that will affect systemic change. The predominately female museum workforce has perpetuated salaries that often do not represent a living wage – women did not choose to enter a low-paying field, the field is low-paying because it is disproportionately female. Ultimately, the field should confront the ethical dimensions of substandard salaries, and director-staff wage gaps, by making significant changes at the board level and incorporating salary standard language into the AAM’s Code of Ethics. Beyond this moral/ethical imperative is an economic one – pay equity leads to better workforce performance, thus better quality programs/exhibitions, and ultimately brings the field closer to their holy grail of a larger, more engaged, and diversified audience.

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