I somehow am unable to comment on this article (no comment box available), so I guess I'll do it here.
In the article, I'm glad she mentions that there are still many unknown factors, because the data she cites is actually not nearly enough to come to any conclusion with respect to gender b... [more]I somehow am unable to comment on this article (no comment box available), so I guess I'll do it here.
In the article, I'm glad she mentions that there are still many unknown factors, because the data she cites is actually not nearly enough to come to any conclusion with respect to gender bias - even the 34%. There is data with respect to the number of female artists represented in festivals, but that number doesn't mean anything, because one would have to know the actual numbers of female vs. male circus artists that exist in the world period, and on top of that, the ratio of the sexes among professionals, and then there is a certain technical and artistic level to take into account.
She assumes that there is an equal number of men and women in circus schools, but that is an assumption one cannot make. There is data mentioned with respect to school graduates - but the most important data is not there: how many women compared to how many men even APPLY to the circus schools? This is the source - what is the base ratio of men to women who are even interested in studying circus?
A hypothetical example of why this is important:
Let's say that only 1 woman per 10 men apply to a circus school. Then that would mean that the 34% of female circus artists in festivals may indicate a gender bias - but in the other direction, in favor of women and against men.
Another example: let's say that the assumption that the number of men and women in circus schools are equal, but that the application ratio is as I just mentioned: 1 woman per 10 men. That would indicate that circus schools are selecting a much higher percentage of women than men with respect to the numbers that are applying. Which would most likely mean that the hypothetical schools in question may be actually lowering the admission standard for women in order to insure that the gender ratio in the school is 50/50. Which would mean that a large number of the women studying in the school would most likely be under standard, which in turn would make a graduation rate of more men to women make sense.
At any rate - all of this are hypothetical examples (leaning towards neither conclusion) with no statistical backing just to get across the point that it is easy to assume from numbers if we don't have all the numbers. Although the subject of the article is very valid and important, the actual data in the article does not allow us to really come to any conclusion one way or the other-- but by reading it, it is easy for emotion to take over and for us to consciously or unconsciously already come to a conclusion, regardless of the actual evidence we have before us. [less]