The attraction to female artists was perhaps driven by Kulczyk’s acute awareness of how she was perceived as a woman in the largely male corporate world, especially throughout the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, when she worked with her then-husband. “Regardless of the role I actually played in the different businesses, the person who was incessantly perceived as the boss was my husband, and I was usually in the back row as a good support, but still in the back row,” Kulczyk said. Or, she would be the “only woman in a boys’ club,” she recalled, citing a bicycle business she ran in Asia, where she exclusively faced men in her dealings.
“I’m not a sociologist or anthropologist, but until recently, the collector base was all men of the same age as that of the women artist…and they never saw a powerful woman. If their mother had a job at all they were nurses, or teachers, or librarians, or housewives,” Minter said. “They can’t wrap their head around someone being an innovator and being female.”
Visitors to Norway often remark on the number of men pushing prams around its streets. And yet Norwegian men haven’t always been so doting. Before a four-week, “use-it-or-lose it” paternal quota was introduced in 1993, under 3 percent of men took paternity leave. Now, the notion of mandatory paternal leave, sometimes called “the daddy quota,” is catching on in policymaking circles as a way to help women return to the workforce, and encourage fathers to share in caregiving and bonding during a child’s first year.
What happens when an entire city tries to close the gender pay gap? In the last few years, Mr. Walsh has doubled down on a commitment made in 2013 by his predecessor, Thomas M. Menino, to bring pay equity to the city’s workforce. The Boston Women’s Workforce Council teams up with the area’s companies and institutions, including major ones like Morgan Stanley, Zipcar and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to help them figure out ways to advance women, which they share with one another in quarterly best-practice meetings.
History is full of famous artist couples who inspired one another and fed each others’ creativity, whose passionate affairs helped push them to their artistic limits. But as important as they were to one another, their importance as gauged by the art market is often deeply asymmetrical, with male artists frequently outperforming their female partners at auction, often by orders of magnitude.
Dealers rarely, if ever, cite gender (or ethnicity, or nationality, or any other marker of identity) as a factor in deciding to represent an artist. That notion is almost universally rejected; it’s always and inevitably about “the strength of the work.” But the findings of this analysis lend some credence to the aphorism, sometimes attributed to female leadership expert Laura Liswood, that “There’s no such thing as a glass ceiling, just a thick layer of men.”