Gender equality

The French Association of Orchestras is committed to equality between men and women and works for a better representation of women in orchestras.

The charter for equality between women and men in orchestras and operas

Back in 2001, the Association Française des Orchestres produced its first study on the place of women in orchestras. In 2017, a new study provided an updated statistical overview.

In 2018, instructed by the results of this survey, the AFO and Forces Musicales, the employers' union for opera houses and orchestras, adopted the Charter for Equality between Women and Men in Orchestras and Operas, a genuine nationwide action plan to promote equality. The Réunion des Opéras de France joined the Charter in February 2023. The text was then extended to cover the specific issues of ballet and chorus.(See press kit)

A permanent equal opportunities commission, comprising 4 representatives from the orchestras and operas, oversees implementation of the charter. It meets several times a year.

Committee members :

  • Florence Alibert, Orchestre national de Metz Grand Est
  • Jean-Marc Bador, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
  • Valérie Chevalier, Opera Orchestre national de Montpellier
  • Mathieu Rietzler, Opéra de Rennes

PEARLE* Award 2018

On November 22, 2018, the Association Française des Orchestres and the Syndicat des Forces Musicales jointly received the European "PEARLE*2018" award for diversity and equal opportunities following the adoption of the Charter.

AFO studies and key figures

The AFO conducts regular surveys on the issue of equality, notably on orchestra programming and communication. Observation is an essential prerequisite for implementing a national strategy in favor of equality, as it enables us to measure reality and make it clear. It is also the only way to assess the impact of our actions within the sector.

  • The representation of women in orchestral programming

Season 2018-2019

Season 2020-2021

  • The representation of women in orchestral communications

Season 2018-2019

Season 2020-2021

  • Gender balance in orchestra governance

Season 2020-2021

Training courses


Les oubliées de l'histoire de la musique: (re)découvrir les compositrices (Extract from the conference of March 29, 2022 - Jérôme Thiébaux)

What you need to know

Press kit | Orchestras and Operas take action for gender equality