CSR Funded Research

Gender and Diversity Monitoring in Cultural Institutions

The aim of the project is to develop a reliable survey system for gender indicators and a reporting system based on it together with selected cultural institutions from German-, French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland. The cultural institutions involved will be advised and accompanied in the implementation of the survey of gender indicators as well as with regard to the development of possible interventions. In addition, the inclusion of further diversity categories for future surveys is being prepared.

In the medium term, regular surveys on equal opportunities in cultural institutions will be conducted on the basis of the gender and diversity monitoring developed in the project. This will also make it possible to develop support measures in a more targeted way.


Cooperation partners: Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICFG) - University of Bern and Pro Helvetia.


Project team: Dr. Dominique Grisard (research associate CSR), Dr. Andrea Zimmermann, University of Bern (project management ICFG), Lisa Pedicino (project manager Pro Helvetia), Dr. Diana Baumgarten (research associate ICFG), N.N. (student cooperation ICFG).


Strategic direction: Dr. Dominique Grisard (CSR), Seraina Rohner (Pro Helvetia) and Prof. Dr. Michèle Amacker (ICFG).


Duration: 1 Aug 2022 – 31 Dec 2024

Preliminary Study on Gender Relations in the Swiss Cultural Sector



by the Centre for Gender Studies in Basel, commissioned by the Swiss Center for Social Research and Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia


In Switzerland, there is little systematic knowledge on the topic of gender relations in the cultural sector: On the one hand there is a paucity of gender-specific data and statistics in cultural institutions and in the area of financial support for culture, on the other hand a lack of solid qualitative knowledge about training, working and living conditions for women and men in the cultural sector; the career trajectory of artists and cultural practitioners; possible gender stereotypical exclusions and barriers in various cultural industries; and who benefits from financial support measures and grants. 


Reason enough for the Swiss Center for Social Research and Pro Helvetia to commission the preliminary study Gender Relations in the Swiss Cultural Sector. A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis with Focus on Cultural Producers, Cultural Institutions and Associations by the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Basel. The study examined gender relations in four cultural disciplines: performing arts (i.e. dance and theatre), literature, music and the visual arts; in each case the survey looked at between four and six selected cantons. The study analysed information and data from a total of 38 cultural institutions and organisations (including festivals), 16 industry and producer associations and 17 professional associations. The study also examined 828 awards and grants in 14 cantons and at Federal level from 2000 to 2020. In addition, 27 qualitative interviews and 14 technical discussions were undertaken across the four disciplines in order to interpret the quantitative results appropriately.



The preliminary study finds both first signs of change in traditional gender relations in the Swiss cultural sector and the persistence of stark gender inequalities, particularly in the music sector:

  • Only 8.3 percent of chair and deputy chair positions at music institutions and festivals are held by women.

  • The representation of women in operational management at music institutions is with 31.4 percent significantly lower than in any other cultural sector. This drops to 0 percent for directorships at music institutions and organisations that participated in the survey.

  • The positions for artistic direction and writing are largely the preserve of men while women are largely active as performers. The profile of women as conductors in classical music is with 6.6 percent particularly low.

  • Virtually no classical music composed by women was performed; the share is a mere 2.3 percent.

  • Only 25.8 percent of music awards went to women.

  • The limited data available provides indication of a gender pay gap that favors men.


Summary of quantitative findings


Complete findings and in-depth analysis




The preliminary study underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive national study investigating and monitoring equality of opportunity in the cultural sector.

  • Data about incomes and the extent of the gender pay gap must be surveyed in depth.

  • Insight into career trajectories and information about central moments in artistic careers are necessary to understand the reasons artists choose to continue or abandon an artistic career.

  • In a related aspect, the issue of compatibility of family and professional life must be investigated.

  • The issue of financial support at various levels (Federation, cantons, local government) requires greater research taking into account the complexity of funding mechanisms and opportunities.

  • Future qualitative and quantitative research must integrate the areas of education and the universities (accessibility, selection criteria, curricula, teaching staff, number of students and graduates).



A. Zimmermann (PI), D. Baumgarten, L. Knobel, Zentrum Gender Studies, Universität Basel

D. Gloor, H. Meier, Social Insight GmbH


Communication Partners:

The Art of Intervention

alliance F

Social Insight



Media Releases:

Universität Basel News: Geschlechterverhältnis im Kulturbetrieb

SRF Kulur: Die Gleichstellung in der Kultur lässt auf sich warten

Pro Helvetia Twitter

alliance F Twitter



Duration of Study: 2018 – 2021

The Art of Intervention


The Art of Intervention is an applied research, teaching, communications, and event platform addressing issues at the intersection of art, politics and activism. Events, event reviews, teaching and research results are published on the blog The Art of Intervention.


Cooperation partners: University of Basel, Gender Studies, with Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, Kaserne BaselTheater BaselTheater Niemandsland and Literaturhaus Basel.


Founding directors and curators: Dominique Grisard (University of Basel, Gender Studies and Swiss Center for Social Research) and Andrea Zimmermann (University of Basel, Gender Studies).



Blog manager: Christina Zinsstag


Duration: 2018 - open

The Life of Beauty. Experiences, Locations, Methodologies

The Life of Beauty. Experiences, Locations, Methodologies, eds. Katyayani Dalmia, Dominique Grisard, Anne Kukuczka (in preparation for Seismo book series “Gender Issues”). Following an intense workshop of an international group of early career scholars held at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zurich in May 2021, we are editing an anthology that will focus on experiencing, situating and analyzing beauty as a novel contribution to Critical Beauty Studies (planned with Seismo Pusblishing, Book Series “Gender Issues”).


Cooperation partners: Dr. Katyayani Dalmia & Anne Kukuczka, Institute of Cultural Anthropology, University of Zurich.


Duration: May 2021 – December 2022.

Bedroom Cultures. The Private-Public Life of Intimacy

As the bourgeois social system gradually developed over the course of the 19th century, a new gender order emerged. This order established biologically based gender differences, gendered norms of attraction, intimacy and heterosexual desire while dividing social space into a public realm of men’s work and a private sphere of women’s domesticity. The emergence of the domestic interior and its various segments—namely, a semi-public day part and the private night section of the bedroom—was highly significant to these developments. This project interrogates how the emergence of the bedroom is connected to bourgeois gender differences. How has this particular room become the place for emotional attachments, intimacy and sexual practices? And how is this bourgeois gender order currently changing, potentially in fundamental ways, aided by digital transformations?


In digital times the visible pluralization of gendered and sexual ways of existence seems to erode the bourgeois gender order. While sexuality and intimacy were once firmly rooted in the home, they have come to saturate the public in new ways at the same time that commercial sex has entered the ostensible privacy of the home. Concurrently, an increasing emphasis on gender differences and privately lived intimacy work to reinforce the traditional gender order. Three main questions guide the analysis: How do digital transformations affect how we emplace and practice of intimacy? How are femininities and masculinities shaped by changing bedroom cultures? What insights do changing bedroom cultures offer to the relationship between gender differences and intimate and (hetero)sexual practices?


Lead researcher: Dr. Dominique Grisard


Duration: 2019 – 2024

Digital Education, Community and Coalition Building by Young Female Cultural Producers Exposed to Antimuslim Racism in Switzerland

This empirical prospective research project will focus on the educational and emancipatory potential of digital platforms and practices of female Muslim cultural producers in Switzerland from a gender, critical race and digital education perspective. We are particularly interested in the role of young female cultural producers exposed to Antimuslim racism and their tactics and practices of digital resistance, intervention and education. On the one hand the project will analyze the ways in which digital platforms and practices are being used in fostering community, intragroup education and exchange among female Muslim cultural producers in Switzerland, potentially providing safe spaces for those exposed to Antimuslim racism. On the other hand we will ask if and how Muslim female cultural producers create and provide digital platforms to educate and communicate others about Antimuslim racism and Muslim cultures in Switzerland, and whether they manage to build coalitions across and beyond religious, ethnic and political differences. The project intervenes in public discourse and its often narrow focus on 1) the negative, radicalizing effects of digital platforms when it comes to Muslim communities, and 2) the portrayal of Muslim women as passive, voiceless victims instead of producers of culture, community and coalition.


Lead researcher: Dr. Dominique Grisard


Duration: 2022 – 2025

Hegemonic Femininity? A Study of Women in the Swiss Business Elite

Research partnership with the University of Basel | Department of Social Sciences and Gender Studies.


“Hegemoniale Femininity?” is historian and gender studies scholar Stephanie Schälin’s PhD project at the University of Basel.

Duration: May 2018 - April 2020

The Politics of Beauty


In September 2016, the Center for Social Research convened the Summer School and International Conference "The Politics of Beauty" at the University of Cambridge together with the Universitiy of Cambridge | Department of Sociology, Downing College, Centre for Gender Studies and Centre for Latin American Studies among others.


Cooperation partners: Senior Lecturer Dr. Monica Moreno Figueroa, Cambridge and PD Dr. Margrit Vogt, Flensburg.


Further information under: Poster, Conference Programme, Call for Papers.