In preparation for the UNESCO Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, Stockholm Sweden, 30th March to 2nd April 1998, the Culture and Development Unit of UNESCO commissioned several background papers to elaborate global issues for each of the key themes to be discussed.
Following the submission of these background papers, the issue of gender relations in the arts, media and cultural development required further elaboration, in view of the fact that it was taken up as a subject of key importance in the report of the World Commission on Culture and Development. The European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts) prepared a contribution which added a gender dimension to each of the UNESCO chosen themes and made recommendations for the development of cultural policies.
This was both a simple and difficult task. Women are, on the one hand, slowly achieving recognition for their talents and gaining access to the economic and political decision making processes which had, up to now, framed and restricted their rights and means to expression. To reflect these struggles as well as find a balance between the daily positive actions and deterrent messages is not easy, on the other hand.
Volumes have been written about women and their fight for equality. More and more texts exist about the relationship of women to science, technologies and the media. Little research or policy attention, however, has been given to women in cultural policies and the arts. Few of those that do exist, present sufficient empirical evidence that could be used for the further development or improvement of cultural policies. While this paper identified some contemporary issues regarding the relationship between women and cultural policies, a more in-depth and representative investigation is required which will help steer policy makers toward facilitating change.