I have often been the only woman in conducting competition juries. Even if I have shared warm and friendly moments with many of my jury colleagues, I have also sometimes unfortunately encountered – even recently – patronizing attitudes and even hostility from other male conductors. A number of very famous conductors have spoken against the feminisation of this wonderful profession, and some of them have treated female candidates unfairly.
Thankfully, talented women conductors are starting to enthuse audiences and orchestral musicians alike, but we must encourage and foster this movement, make sure that young women conductors have access to conservatoires, detect new talents capable of directing permanent orchestras, showcase the values we want to transmit through this competition, and provide visibility and notoriety to our 3 laureates. Finally, it is our duty to offer the laureates more than just a prize or a financial reward : an ambitious mentoring programme to develop their career.
Our ambition is big and fair : gender equality ! Yes we are far from it according to statistics… This competition will take place until we have achieved this goal.