PiPA releases report on impact of Covid on parents working in the Performing Arts

Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA) have published a new report on the impact of Covid on parents and carers in the sector, with a focus on those groups which are currently underrepresented in the performing arts.

The study, drawn from a survey conducted in October 2020, has found that the general lack of work across the industry is compounded for parents and carers, who are overwhelmed by the stress of home schooling or other care giving demands and feel unable to compete for the few opportunities that are available. It warns of a significant risk of female talent haemorrhage in the performing arts sector, with many facing an uncertain future and having to choose between supporting a family and staying in the industry.

The report finds that women, D/deaf and disabled people and solo parents and carers are the hardest hit.


1. 25% of women have involuntarily become full-time carers and are doing 90% or more of the childcare, struggling to work or to seek work.

2. Only one third (37%) are certain that they will stay in the industry.

3. Over one third of women with caring responsibilities are experiencing a mental health crisis.

4. Government support has disadvantaged mothers and female carers working in the performing arts.

To learn more about the findings, you can read the full report on the PiPA website.

Equity supports and echoes PiPA's calls for urgent action:

  • The Government must urgently review the eligibility criteria for SEISS to include all those previously ineligible for parenting and caring reasons including, but not limited to, mixed income models or maternity leave.  It is a scandal that, almost a year on, the Chancellor is still ignoring this group. 

  • We call on grant makers and funding bodies to add caring responsibilities to all mandatory monitoring requirements for funding recipients. To retain all its talents, the industry needs to know how many parents and carers it employs, and how care responsibilities become a greater barrier for women, people who are D/deaf and disabled, people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or those with other protected characteristics. 

  • We urge employers to proactively communicate and accommodate furlough requests to enable parents they employ to manage the pressures of home schooling. 

  • We encourage employers to establish production backup through job share modelling and flexible working, to enable self-employed mothers and carers to accept work under a system that allows for last minute changes to domestic settings such as school closure or self-isolation due to Covid 

Responding to the findings of the report, Equity Vice-President Jackie Clune said: "The pandemic has revealed and exacerbated the existing inequalities for women in the performing arts - the cracks were there and now many are falling through them. In these times of economic uncertainty, we are in danger of sleepwalking into a huge talent drain, losing a generation of incredible actors, directors, stage managers, dancers and singers who are being forced to return to 1950s models of being stay-at-home mums and housewives.

"We need a radical overhaul of the SEISS so as not to discriminate against women who have had to take a financial hit due to maternity leave, we need proper consideration of and financial provision for people with caring responsibilities in the form of childcare grants, and a radical rethink of our often family- hostile working practices. Reshaping our working lives as we come back from lockdown is an opportunity to reimagine our industry as more inclusive and less discriminatory to women of colour, deaf and disabled women, and women across all intersections. We need to be radical - if we are not, we will set equalities back decades."

PiPA will be holding a series of virtual round table events across the UK over the next two months to discuss the findings and work in partnership with sector leaders and employers to address the challenges presented in this report and identify local solutions. If you would like to discuss sponsoring, co-hosting, partnering, or participating in any of the events please let them know.