Women in Conducting

A huge topic of discussion today is the disparity between men and women in careers and the workplace. Women on average make around 77¢ for every dollar a man makes in the same career and position. Not only that, but men are often favored when seeking executive positions. Unfortunately, music is no different. There is a huge gap between the amount of male and female conductors and how they are treated in the profession.

When looking at raw numbers, one can see the difference. The following graphs show the difference in the number of conductors of each gender in orchestras across the U.S. The more prestigious the level it seems, the more disparity there is.


It seems that, overall, the treatment of men and women careers is beginning to be more equitable, albeit a slow process. However, in the field of professional conducting, at least in recent years, there is not much improvement. The following graph shows just how little growth there has been in the number of women conducting orchestras.


Further evidence of the patriarchal structure of professional music can be shown in the words and actions of many of the men in the field. Vasily Petrenko, principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras, put his blatant misogyny on display in public comments, “[O]rchestras react better when they have a man in front of them,” going on to say, “a cute girl on the podium means the musicians think of other things.” The examples are not limited to Petrenko’s comments either. It is not unusual for some male concertmasters to refuse to perform under a female conductor.

In addition to this, there has been a wave of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse allegations made against some of the field’s most prominent male conductors. Most prominently is the accusations against former principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, James Levine. The allegations made against Levine led to his resignation from one of the most prestigious positions in music. Levine allegedly used his power as maestro to abuse and harass young musicians. Because Levine was so influential in their careers, the victims felt trapped and hesitated to come forward. As we observe the #metoo movement unfold across the nation and the world, stories like these are far too common. Levine is not the only prominent conductor to be accused of these atrocities; he is joined by Charles Dutoit and fellow Met conductor Joseph Colaneri.

As a music educator, it am disturbed by the behavior of men in the professional realm of music and by the treatment of women in the field. I constantly strive to make music an inclusive and safe environment for my students and it breaks my heart that these things are happening in the musical field. Just like every other field, I and the other men in music must use our privilege in the field to strike down the the misogynistic tendencies of our colleagues and make constant effort to strike down those same tendencies within ourselves.





Diversity with Doctor Who

I first joined this class thinking that I would be learning about diversity and doctors in the medical field but to my surprise is was about a show named Doctor Who and The Doctor. At first I found it hard to look at the diversity in a show that I have never seen before, I was more focused on watching the show than looking into it more deeply and watching for diversity.

Much of the diversity in the Doctor revolves around characters in the show. To me much of that diversity stands out is their accents. I would say almost all the characters in the Doctor Who series has some sort of European British accents. I have not heard any American accents of and other accents that I could recognize throughout watching the newer series but the may be to the fact that their aim for an audience. I think that a majority of their audience resides in Europe and not as much in America so the directors do not to be picky with the actors they hire because they know the range of their viewers and who will watch. That is another thing that is not so diverse in Doctor Who is the location. All the locations that The Doctor and the assistant go to when in the modern age in European cities they do not go to any North or South American places. Most of the places they go to is London and where Rose or the current assistant lives even in One episode they went back to World War 2 and they still stayed in the European area. Which I do not understand why they do not go to any different countries because it could bring more viewers to the show. But at the same time American shows usually only stay in the Americas.

Some things that the newer episodes do better than the older Doctor Who episodes is the diversity in race and gender. In the earlier seasons there they did a poor job of representing other races. They just used Caucasian people and used paint and other stereotypes to recreate scenes but I the new episode race is represented a lot better. I think it is the same for gender too because I noticed there are very few women roles in the earlier season with a lot of male roles. In the seasons we are watching now there are noticeably more women and there is even a woman doctor coming in the newest episodes of Doctor Who.



female doctor

There is a change in the Doctor who show, the traditional role usually played by man ever since the Doctor who shows started is now being taken over by a female  Doctor Jodie who is one of the most famous actresses who played a role as Beth in Broadchurch.  Peoples reactions towards the new female Doctor differ, especially fans of Doctor Who.  The word fan means someone who admires and support something which might be a sport, person, clothes or other things. By reading the comments about peoples thoughts and reactions towards the introduction of the new doctor especially fans made me question myself if some fans love the show, the person playing the role in the show or both. Or do you have to love someone or be a fan just because the person has the same gender, background, race, religion as yours regardless of her skills, character or knowledge? Fans of a doctor who separated after hearing about Jodie becoming the next doctor.Others were praising Jodie saying that she was an amazing actor in Broadchurch, therefore, they couldn’t wait to see how she will play the role as a doctor. Some fans were also happy especially females as they felt like the world is now believing that roles played by man can also be played by women, that’s promoting gender equality and diversity.  Some of the fans who were not happy about the next doctor becoming a female were commenting saying that the show was over for them as they are not going to watch the new series being a doctor is not supposed to be a female. Some comments even read ”rest in peace Doctor Who you will be greatly missed” as if the Show was ending.

To regenerate into a female doctor the doctor has to change his physical appearance which can happen under a burst of energy it will have to be a longer process. However, most fans are still stuck in the tradition they expect her to be a male since most Timelords are male except River Song who was the child of the doctors of Tardis. Most fans also want to keep tradition because they are used to the doctor developing some kind of relationships with his female companion.Fans should understand and be prepared for any change in the Doctor even in the series which are yet to come. In the show when the 8th Doctor was regenerating after an accident in a spaceship crash, the Doctor woke up to the Sisterhood of Karn asking him to choose his next form “young or old? fat or thin? man or women which shows that the Doctor can be in any form.


Gender in society

The topic of sex and gender is different depending by the person you’re speaking to.  The dictionary definition of gender is “the state of being male or female”.  This means that there is the ability to change or choose your gender based on your emotions.  Comparatively, sex is determined when you are born, male or female.  

I also want to express that sexuality is different from sex as it is the attraction you feel towards someone.  I think in today’s society there is a large population of accepting people who don’t care or don’t mind what you consider yourself.  The idea of gender is still confused with sex throughout the nation.  This can be observed in the early stages of life when given certain objects such as the color of a blanket or style of toy the child is given.  There is a fine line though.  When does gender start to play a role?  People commonly say that the toy trucks being for boys and barbie dolls for girls can  influence gender on the children.  But? What? They’re children!  Children don’t have any sexual interactions or needs for over a decade of their lives so what does it matter if i were to give them a truck versus a doll?  You know a child’s sex the second they are born or even before if wanted.  But gender is determined by early environmental signs and your parents decisions.  Therefore, is it acceptable to insert or establish a gender for a child without their own beliefs playing a role? I don’t know how there could be interactions or gifts given without going into or playing against the norms.  I don’t know the answer I’m just not sure how to approach the question of gender for a child who has no sexual attraction.  

I think that society as a whole is more accepting in the recent decades compared to years past.  There is definitely a mental difference in the generations.  Generationally it is common to see someone that is less accepting of these gender roles.  On average, older generations find it hard to accept the gender changes that have come up in recent years.  

It really is not a big deal what you identify as and who you consider yourself attracted to.  I don’t really know why people decide to invade other people’s personal lives if it does not affect them.  At the end of the day your gender is determined by you and only you.  Although it can be affected by how you are raised and what relationships are formed early in life it is a matter of personal opinion and beliefs.  

Diversity in Doctor Who

Since Doctor Who rebooted in 2005 it has made strides in representing diversity on television.  Strides that can’t be said for many other television shows.  We open with episode one, “Rose” set in England, 2005, on a rare scene for television.  Rose is a working class woman who really is working class, not a dramatized version of this.  She lives in a small apartment with her single mother and wakes early every day to clock-in at her job in a department store.  She’s casual, dressing in clothes that certainly aren’t the height of fashion for the time, she isn’t dolled up in makeup only a professional could do, and what’s more; she isn’t the tiny waisted, long-legged pretty girl we’re used to seeing on TV.  Rose sets the pace for the growing diversity we’re about to be treated to in “Doctor Who”.

Not long after we get Captain Jack Harkness, the first openly pansexual in the history of “Doctor Who” who equally and openly shows attraction to men, women, aliens, and the non-gender conforming.  This was a huge leap for sexual and romantic diversity in “Doctor Who”, and one of the very first times queer people could see themselves in a character on television that wasn’t harmful.  

Next comes Martha, the first black companion on “Doctor Who”.  She’s intelligent and able to keep up with the Doctor’s rambling better, perhaps, than most other companions.  For people of colour, Martha is a big deal.  She’s a strong, woman of colour, in a leading role on one of the most popular television shows of all time.  With Martha, the television series continues to push forward for more diversity in their cast.

The next three companions, Donna, Amy, and Clara continue to portray strong female leads with diverse histories and personalities.  Along the way we meet a couple more sexually diverse characters, and characters from all different walks of life.  

Now we come to the most recent companion, Bill, who is both a woman of colour and openly gay.  She is one of the very first leading characters like this on television, a huge influence for women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  We finally have a leading character that many minorities can view themselves in in a positive way.

Soon we’ll be treated with something that came unexpected: a female Doctor.  Jodie Whittaker will soon take on the role of the Doctor and make history as the first female Doctor.  Many people are very excited about this.  We get a leading female, and also confirmation that Gallifreyans, or at least the Doctor, experience gender fluidity, which could be a nod toward the transgender community.

But when it comes to diversity, is it enough?  Though Doctor Who has done a great job positively representing different groups of people, we still are left itching for more.  Several groups who wish to see any kind of representation on television have been left out.  Doctor Who has come a long way, but I believe it can, and should, go much farther.  I hope that as the episodes continue to air we will continue to see a rise in representation in the cast.