Sent to various lists September 24, 1999
I would also like to add one small update concerning the orchestra's current status. Last month I reported that the orchestra rejected a 2 million dollar contract from the government to play at official functions because it stipulated that the ensemble offer equal employment opportunity to women. Since then the orchestra has held additional meetings with government officials and has accepted a 2 million dollar offer. Unfortunately, the new contract does not contain any clauses that would obligate the orchestra to use fair employment policies. The State Opera Orchestra/VPO is still allowed to require photos with its employment applications, and in the final round of auditions the screen is still removed so that the orchestra can see what the candidates look like.
Since the government is giving large sums to the orchestra without any stipulations that would guarantee fair employment procedures, there is no reason to expect any change. The State Opera Orchestra (which is the same orchestra as the VPO) is owned and operated by the Austrian Federal Government. The exclusion of women is thus completely against both Austrian and European Common Market law.
Three years ago, in the face of massive protest, the VPO said it would allow women into the orchestra, but when the protest died down they simply reneged on their agreement. If you live in the New York City area please join protesters in front of Carnegie on September 29th.
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