When all the artists are women

December 11, 2009

Dear Rodney,Last night I was giving a short talk and signing books at one of our local art 
clubs. I happened to notice no men were in the hall. The club has many male 
members, they assured me, but apparently they don't come out on rainy nights. 
Not to listen to me, anyway. I wasn't crestfallen--I was being sociologically 
informed. I've always noticed the 80/20 split in these organizations, but I 
knew the full-female thing was just around the corner. Anyway, it was a 
combined lecture and holiday-season windup, the shortbread was good, and no 
one asked me to dance.

If you don't mind, I'm going to lay some statistics on you. Of the 82 new 
people who signed up for the Twice-Weekly letter yesterday, 56 were women. 
That's 68%--which pretty well mirrors our current ratio of 67% women 
subscribers. Maybe this means females might be more willing to listen to males 
than males are. If true, one wonders what percentage of males is willing to 
listen to females.

Yesterday, among the people buying my new book on PayPal, 65% were women. 
Funnily, more men paid by check-in-the-mail than women. One might conclude 
women are what social scientists are now calling "early adopters."

Fact is, women are more into growth, self-improvement, networking and learning 
than men. In a recent UNESCO study, more women than men got university degrees 
in 75 of 98 countries. This goes for most professions with the exception of 
engineering, computer science and math. Some fields are being overwhelmed with 
women. The vet school in Guelph, Ontario, for example, reports 80% of current 
grads are women.

The fact that boys lag behind girls in school is well known and not peculiar 
to our times. Studies show that as early as grade nine girls crave learning 
more than boys. Apparently the boys are now lagging later and later. The new 
statistics might be alarming to some. Roles may be reversing. Are men going to 
be stay-at-home-daddies while the women go out into the world and slay 
dragons? Is breeding going to grind to a halt? Are women going to be all the 
doctors, lawyers and artists? And by the way, do men just not want to listen 
because they already know it all and need to get on with it?

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "It's not ridiculous to say women will have the upper hand in a way they 
haven't in the past." (Economist Ross Finnie, University of Ottawa)

Esoterica: The "demographic bomb," as it's being called, may have its short 
term benefits, but the longer picture is not so rosy, particularly for Western 
cultures. If women are busy building empires, where will the new customers be 
coming from? One more statistic and I'll shut up and get back to my easel. In 
my four top galleries it looks like 27% of living artists represented are 
women. Ten years ago it was 24%.