Listen without Seeing: The Impact of Blind Auditions on Female Musician's Recruitment in French Orchestra

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.3.04 (Tower One)
Helene Perivier, Sciences Po OFCE, paris, France
Ravet Hyacinthe, researcher, Paris, France
Hatzipetrou-Andronikou Reguina, researcher, paris, France
Noe Chiara, researcher, paris, France
Are women discriminated in recruitments? The analysis of the impact of blind auditions in the hiring process in orchestras constitutes an interesting case study to answer to this question. The paper by Goldin and Rouse (2000) indicates that the music sector allows, at least theoretically, to evaluate the quality of each candidate without seeing her or him: the use of blind auditions in American Orchestras explains one fifth of the observed feminization rate in these orchestras between 1970 and 1996.  In this paper, we present the first results of a research that combines sociological and economic approaches on this issue.  It aims to evaluate the feminization of the recruitment in French Orchestras in the Region Ile-de-France, and the impact of blind auditions on the profile of musicians. To conduct this research, we have built an original data base thanks to the collaboration of 5 Orchestras based in the Région Ile-de-France. We have used archives of 94 competitions, for 105 positions, including 3 or 4 rounds from the first one to the final recruitment. The data do not allow to explicitly shed light on the impact of the use of the screen of the feminization of the Orchestra under review, but thanks to interviews and ethnographic data, we describe the resistances and the different discourses about the use of blind auditions during the whole process of recruitment.

Statistical data also indicates that despite a feminization rate of more than 40% in the pool of candidates, we found that women represents only 16% of the hired musicians. Among the 1244 candidates, 1147 are eliminated after the first round of the competition : 58% of them are men. Only 66 persons reach the final step, and among them we find 68% of men. At last, among persons finally hired, we observe 87% of men.  Ce phenomena is statistically significant for each step of the process. This unequal process that we observe arises from  the second round and speeds up at the end of the process.