Arts boards still don’t represent Toronto’s diversity: Bob Ramsay

Good comparative analysis:

Four years ago, I wrote a Star column on the shocking white maleness of the boards of Toronto’s “Big 6” arts groups. Back then, all 25 board members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra were white.

Two years ago, I wrote an update. Surely, in the most diverse city in the world, the Big 6 would diversify their boards to better reflect their donors and audiences. Many big arts groups appoint board members precisely because they have the means to help raise serious money from their communities.

Unfortunately, it seems Not in Our Back Yard. In fact, in 2015 things got worse for the Canadian Opera Company (COC), where all 36 of their board members were white. In Toronto, the visible minority had just become the majority, yet the COC couldn’t find a single person from this new majority to help guide and secure their future.

So how is the state of diversity now? Well, I described the pace of diversifying big arts boards between 2013 and 2015 as “glacial.” But glaciers are receding faster than some big arts boards are advancing on this issue. So let’s call the progress between 2015 and now “snail-like.”

First, it’s important to note that not all the big arts boards are lagging in diversity. Some are leading in it and always have. For example, TIFF’s board of directors is made up of seven white men, six men of colour, five white women and two women of colour.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are doing pretty well too: The ROM’s board has six white men, three men of colour, six white women and four women of colour. The AGO’s board has 21 white men, four men of colour, 15 white women and two women of colour.

Meanwhile, the National Ballet of Canada board may have more women members than men, but of the 20 women, not a single one is a woman of colour. Not one. And of the 15 men, just one is a man of colour.

The Toronto Symphony board (reduced from 27 to 13) has seven men and six women on it board. All but one is white.

Once again, the Canadian Opera Company board lags behind. In 2015, 30 of its 42 board members were men and 12 were women. All were white. Today, with a board of 35, the number of women has fallen to 11, with not one being a woman of colour. Today, just two of its 22 male board members are men of colour.

Some people will argue that the arts aren’t obliged to have their leadership reflect the makeup of the general population. I buy that argument too. But all the organizations mentioned here are in the excellence business. This means they’re also in the engaging-new-communities business.

This is why I don’t buy the argument that people from non-European cultures just aren’t interested in opera, especially since the “from” can now be several generations past.

Worse still, why could the COC not even recruit a single member to its board from a ‘white’ culture that’s bathed in opera for centuries? Not one Russian-sounding name appears on the COC board. What’s more, this year, the COC hosted the two most famous opera singers in the world for a sold-out “night to remember” concert: baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and soprano Anna Netrebko. Guess where they’re from?

In my previous informal reviews of arts board composition, I’ve argued that more diverse boards will help the Big 6 expand its pool of ticket-buyers and financial supporters. Given that the arts are more challenged than ever on these two fronts, I thought that just made sense.

Source: Arts boards still don’t represent Toronto’s diversity | Toronto Star

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Debate over police powers missing key voices: women and minorities

Lack of representation is a problem, both in terms of optics as well as substance:

Here in Canada, to say that police unions are boys’ clubs – and white boys’ clubs at that – understates just how glaring the absence of women and visible minorities is.

Let’s start with Toronto, “the world’s most diverse city.” Of the eight board members of the Toronto Police Association headed by Mr. McCormack, all eight are male and seven are white. This in a force of 7,650 members, in which 30 per cent are women and 23 per cent are visible minorities, who police a city where 51 per cent of the residents are women and almost the same percentage are members of a visible minority.

Canada’s second-largest city fares no better. The Montreal police union has six executive members. All are men and all are white.

Calgary? Of seven board members, all are men, one is non-white.

Ottawa: of eight members, all men, one non-white.Halifax: five members, all men, all white.

Vancouver only lists its president (male, white) on its website, and Winnipeg doesn’t list any of its 13 board members.

RCMP officers are forbidden from forming a union. But Canada’s two largest provincial police unions mirror their city cousins: the Ontario Provincial Police Association has seven board members. Six are men and all are white. The Sûreté du Québec has six executive members and 12 board members. All are men, all are white.

While I would not go as far as his generalizations about men and women (and visible minorities) as he does below, representation is also about how decisions and actions are perceived by the broader, and more diverse, public.

But why does this matter? What’s the connection between lower levels of testosterone and less incendiary rhetoric? And not just rhetoric. When police line up outside the courtroom to defend one of their own accused of a crime, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a policewoman pushing the media away. And when the New York cops turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio outside the church last week where he was to speak at the funeral of Raphael Ramos, not a policewoman’s back was to be seen.

The connection, of course, is that women are less violent than men, certainly in deed and often in word as well. (in ‘thought’ we’ll never know). Women are more empathic than men. Women make more rational decisions than men, in everything from investing to … shooting. While women make up 20 per cent to 35 per cent of many police forces, the number of female police officers caught using excessive force ranges from tiny to non-existent.

Debate over police powers missing key voices: women and minorities – The Globe and Mail.