In honor of Women’s History Month, 272 institutions around the world have joined forces to promote gender equality by turning the spotlight on women artists working to drive change and raise awareness. With the hashtag #5WomenArtists, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is leading the charge in sharing stories and works from artists addressing issues of gender equity, immigration, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, climate change, and others.
The NMWA began the hashtag campaign back in 2016 as a challenge for people to name five women artists. Now, the effort has expanded to raise awareness to the inequalities facing women in the arts. Some of the artists the NMWA is spotlighting include the Guerrilla Girls, Judy Chicago, Sonya Clark, Kimsooja, and Nan Goldin as examples of artists with socially conscious works. Institutions as varied as the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Guggenheim Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Toronto International Film Festival, Museu de Arte Sacra de São Paulo, and the Tate Modern, as well as a number of universities and galleries around the world, have signed on to participate in this year’s campaign. The NMWA has once again invited art fans to join the conversation by posting about their #5WomenArtists.
The NMWA site also offers more knowledge about the artists they’re highlighting and offers graphics detailing the disparities between white male artists who dominate museums and gallery spaces and women from many backgrounds. (The above animation, a commission by data journalist Mona Chalabi, visualizes some of this information.) Some of the featured statistics show that although 60 percent of MFA art students are women, female artists only make up 30 percent and of those shown in galleries. Women of color only make up 5.6 percent of artists shown in galleries. Another figure shows that although women make up 46 percent of visual artists in the US, they make only average 74 cents to each dollar a male artist earns.