A survey in today’s low-circulation Independent newspaper tries to argue that women are somehow still being barred from the best seats in the band. Miranda Kiek rustles up the following statistics:
Berlin Phil 14% women
Russian National 36%
Boston, Chicago, LA Phil 40+%
Given that (Vienna aside) there is no overt prejudice against women in orchs and most auditions are conducted unseen, it would seem that the glass ceiling has been shattered and that the only disincentive to women joining an orchestra is their individual career decisions.
As wages are squeezed in the orchestral sector, and travel increases, it could be that young women musicians are looking elsewhere for a living, or choosing to play part-time. I have no proof for this beyond hearsay, but I don’t think this is (Vienna excepted) the equality issue that this article pretends it to be.
Or is it? Are there orchestras where women still feel uncomfortable, and under-represented?