Space Invaders Manifesto for change


Space Invaders is a campaign for change for women in museums and heritage. We’re claiming equal space for women.

We want:

  • Equal power and influence, with more women leading our institutions
  • Fair conditions, with day-to-day working life designed to meet our needs
  • Our stories told, with real representation in collections, narratives and displays

Why do we need change?

Women don’t have equal power and influence.

  • Women make up only a third of the National Museum Directors’ Council. The break-down of Board members is similar, with an even smaller proportion of women Chairs.
  • There is a perception that women in leadership roles take on a traditional or masculine style of leadership.

Conditions for women at work are not fair.

  • Mandatory reporting on the gender pay gap for all organisations with over 250 staff shows that women in Museums and other heritage sites are still paid less on average than men.
  • The sector is at least perceived as feminised, and follows the broader trend for such roles to be low pay.

Women’s stories are not equally told.

  • 30 years after the Guerilla Girls asked if women have to be naked to get into the MET, their 2016 survey of European museums found the situation might be worse here and now. A recently acquired work by Artemesia Gentileschi, represents only the 21st painting by a female artist in the National Gallery’s collection in London. Women make up less than 1 percent of its 2,300 works.
  • While English Heritage acknowledge the issue, only 129, or 14%, out of 900 Blue Plaques in London celebrate women. A statue of Millicent Fawcett, unveiled in 2018, is the first statue, out of 12, of a woman in Parliament Square. In 2015 only 16 per cent of biographies on Wikipedia were of women.

Our demands

1.     Equal power

We want to see leadership in museums and heritage reflect the wider population, with women – and a diversity of women – holding their share of influence

  1. Boards comprise 51% women
  2. Women hold the top role in half of our institutions
  3. Different, more inclusive, leadership styles are valued, including more participatory decision-making

2. Fair conditions

We want to see workplaces and conditions designed to meet the needs of women

  1. Equal pay and no gender pay gap
  2. Flexibility, with caring responsibilities supported for all staff and all dependents
  3. Safe spaces free of sexism

3. Our stories told

We want to see women represented equally in collections, narratives and displays

  1. Women’s history and perspectives included in all museums and historic sites
  2. Art and design by women equally represented in acquisitions and displays
  3. Wider gender equality issues highlighted through interpretation, exhibitions and events

This Manifesto has been informed by discussions with women from across the sector held at Space Invaders events since March 2016.

What we will do

  • Continue to bring women together to learn from each other and explore strategies for change.
  • Continue to support the Global Grace Space Invading research, and look at how findings can inform our plans.
  • Work with women in the sector and beyond to create a plan to achieve the Manifesto demands.

What do you think? Tell us:

Last updated April 2019