One of our central pillars at the ACF Washington is the particular promotion and presentation of female artists, be it through inviting Austrian artists to present their work at the premises of the ACF Washington or through participating at different cultural festivals and events in the DC metro area, that celebrate the work of women artists. The Department of International Cultural Policy of the Austria's Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) has developed many interesting initiatives supporting the promotion of Austrian female artists in various disciplines like literature, film, music or visual art and it is our goal to introduce them to our audience here at the ACF Washington in the coming months and years.

The focus on women is of particular importance just by looking at the numbers of female artists being represented in the public sphere, which still and despite all the efforts in the last decades, are disappointingly low. Taking the example of visual art, according to statistics from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the pioneer voice for women in art Judy Chicago, 51% of visual artists today are women, however in the major permanent collections in the US and Europe only 3 to 5% of them are from women artists. In the list of top 100 individual works sold between 2011 and 2016, only two artists were women (Source: National Women Museum of Art – Get the facts).

We all have followed the reports of different treatment and payment of female and male actors and directors in the movie business – be it in the big business of Hollywood but as well in the independent filmmaking world – where female directors are struggling much more to receive funding for their projects than their male colleagues. For instance, the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in DC highlights the necessity to shed a special light on female playwrights, as only 22% of the pieces produced in theaters nationwide in the US are from women, even though women are the largest consumers of theatre. In Austria the numbers are similar.

Thus if you are interested to learn more about the role women are playing in art and culture and hear about new exiting women-empowerment initiatives, then follow our activities, either through social media channels or come to our events at the ACF Washington. You will be able to enjoy outstanding female artists whom we invite to perform and show their work here in DC and participate also in our newly developed discussion series, called “Salongespräche/Talks #ATinDC". We will organize these talks at the ACF Washington throughout the year with always two interesting personalities on the stage, naturally tackling women’s issues regularly.

The Department of International Cultural Policy of the BMEIA has published a special book, called Calliope Austria – Women in Society, Culture And The Sciences that showcases an impressive collection of outstanding women from Austria, from the 18th century through to the present day, who have left their mark on Austria and helped shape history. It serves also as a guidance tool for the Austrian Embassies and Cultural Fora around the world to help turn the spotlight more clearly on past and present women’s achievements for Austria as a cultural nation. It thus aims to increase the level of awareness of the achievements of women from Austria, and to support them when it comes to international cultural and academic cooperation.