Thursday, November 19, 2009

MTC to appoint Equal Opportunity Officer

Today's Age reports that Melbourne Uni has requested that Melbourne Theatre Company appoint an equal opportunity officer and committee to address the lack of opportunities for female directors.

The initial response from MTC was to be expected - pulling out its empty pockets and wearing a sad face. Creating new positions can cost money, so it's likely the positions will be filled by existing staffmembers.

And it is curious, I'll admit, that unimelb asks for further roles to be created at MTC when most of its own departments and faculties look like shooting ranges right now.
But if the MTC does follow through on the recommendations it will at least raise the bar for similar organisations around the country, as well as provide vindication for the very large chorus of voices who have been calling for change for a long time.

The other development just as interesting is the demand that MTC advertise positions, especially associate director jobs. This won't just open up those roles to previously overlooked folks (if it really does that at all) - it'll allow the industry to scrutinise the appointment process itself. I'm expecting a fair bit of debate over who gets jobs from among those who apply, which will make for some hearty - even fiery - conversation.

1 comment:

Lucy Freeman said...

These MTC policy shifts were made by the Vice Chancellor in response to a letter from the Australian Women Directors Alliance (AWDA). The full letter requests not only an equal opportunity Officer, but also an equal opportunity committee and training for existing staff in diversity and EO expctations. External addition staff will not necessarily be required, but either way it will follow that discussions re EO issues will be raised in MTC meetings. The AWDA welcomes this development.

I believe when theatre companies have existing gender inequities, the companies themselves must make it a priority and part of their core business to impliment change to address the problem. The resultant initiative/s should not be add-ons, funding reliant nor temporary. I am not saying this will be easy, but believe that equal opportunity is an obligation, not an optional extra. The problem is systemic so positive solutions must be reached no matter how complex the task.

Lucy Freeman (Chair AWDA)