Urgent Museum Notice

Advocacy

Reclining light skinned nude woman seen from behind wearing a gorilla mask on bright yellow background. Large black text reads,
NMWA advocates for women artists—and you can, too.

Righting the Balance for Women Artists

For centuries, social conventions limited the training available to women artists, the subjects they could render, and the ways they could market art to patrons. Gender bias is less overt today, but contemporary women artists still face obstacles and disparities. Historical trailblazers still deserve to have their stories told.

NMWA is more than an art museum. Through our work, we aim to right the balance for women artists and improve gender inequity in the art world. Learn more about our advocacy work and how you can take action.

Quick Facts

  • 8 %
    of galleries represent more women than men
  • 87%
    of the works in major museum collections are by men
  • $5 billion
    is the pay gap between the top male and female artists
Miniature half-portrait of a light-skinned woman, set in an oval-shaped brass frame, gazing confidently at the viewer. The woman is wearing a Victorian-style white blouse with a purple scarf tied in bow around her neck, her brown hair loosely piled atop her head.
Graphic by Mara Kurlandsky, NMWA
Photo credit: Kevin Allen
Carolina Sardi, Black Holes, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and Pan American Art Projects Miami; Photo by Mariano Costa Peuser
Photo credit: Traci Christensen, NMWA

Take Action for Women in the Arts

How can you help? Most people can’t start their own gallery or museum, but there are small things anyone can do to learn, take action, and help advocate for women artists.

  • Can you name five women artists off the top of your head? Even art buffs might find it difficult. Challenge yourself to name five—or learn five if you can’t. Quiz your friends and family!
  • Join the #5WomenArtists campaign to spread the word.
  • Share the challenge on social media all year round using #5WomenArtists on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • Speak up and praise an exhibition that is thoughtful about gender parity.
  • Encourage your friends and coworkers to visit the institution.
  • Give feedback about the exhibition to staff. Your comments can go a long way.
  • Promote the exhibition on your social media channels. Name the women artists in the exhibition and tag your post with #5WomenArtists!

  • Say something when you see an exhibition that excludes women artists.
  • Contact the gallery or museum and let them know that showing more work by women artists is important.
  • Write a message in a gallery or museum visitor book, using the opportunity to request that the institution show more work by women.

  • Find out which museums, galleries, and nonprofit art spaces in your region make an effort to exhibit work by women artists. Visit them often and become a supporter.
  • Support nonprofit arts organizations that work toward achieving gender equality.
  • Follow women artists on social media.
  • Buy works of art made by women.

Other Ways to Advocate

Donate

A medium skin toned woman in a yellow top and brightly patterned long skirt with flowers in her hair looks to her right at a painting of a similarly dressed woman.
Your support helps us champion women in the arts by presenting exhibitions, educational programs, and publications featuring the work of women artists.

Become a Member

Two figures stand facing a large colorful work on paper. The figure on the left is dark skinned with short, curly, brown hair, the figure on the right is light skinned with long, straight, blonde hair. The work on paper depicts a seated dark skin person staring confidently at the viewer; an overlay of bright orange and circular patterns of white, blue, and brown circles covers the person and background.
Members help advance our mission and enjoy free admission and other perks.

Volunteer

A medium light-skinned young adult smiles while listening to another adult speak a few seats over from her in a full auditorium.
Our dedicated corps of well-trained volunteers is one of the museum’s most valuable resources.