Spiral Collectives
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Spiral Collectives

Help a Woman Artist Today?

Women’s Gallery group 1982

Tēnā koutou katoa.

The gender pay gap in the arts is an old story. From 1980–1984 the determined women pictured tried to change that. And made a difference, thanks to government employment programmes, run by the Labour Department.

But forty years later, the latest figures show that women artists earn 21% less overall than men artists. That means they earn 79 cents for every dollar a man artist earns. If only arts-related income is counted, the gap is an extraordinary 45%, 55 cents for every dollar (Creative New Zealand/New Zealand on Air 2019 p21). I can’t find information about the intersections of gender and ethnicity for artists, but imagine that they’re similar to those for the whole population’s average hourly earnings.(1)

Anecdotally, Covid has made this worse. And not one of the MCH relief packages for artists references the gender pay gap and attempts to address it.

So there are now more women artists than ever who can’t afford to repair or replace their computers. They have to manage large projects on their phones. If they don’t live within walking distance of a public library with computers, if libraries aren’t open at the only time they have available for their art work, they’re stuck. If library computers don’t have the programmes they need, they’re stuck. If they haven’t got smart phones, they’re truly stuck.

Have you upgraded your computer recently? Are you undecided about what to do with your still-in-excellent-condition old desktop or laptop computer or smart phone? Or do you know someone else with surplus equipment?

If so, please consider contacting Spiral on spiralcollectives76 [at] gmail.com. We’ll find a welcoming home for that surplus. And you’ll have done a beautiful thing.

(And if you’re a woman artist in need of some gear, we’d love to hear from you, too.)

Ngā mihi mō te tau hou!


Poet, activist and lesbian feminist Heather McPherson founded Spiral in 1976. Anne Else’s Women Together project for the Ministry of Culture & Heritage provides Spiral and/or Women’s Gallery key information and references; and there’s more here at Spiral Collectives.



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Stories by & about women artists, writers and filmmakers. Global outlook, from Aotearoa New Zealand.