1. Are there challenges that female magicians encounter that their male counterparts do not? If so, what are they?
Female magicians encounter many challenges that their male counterparts do not. Most if not all these extra challenges are caused by the preconceived notions of male magicians. I believe audiences do not really care about the differences of female and male magicians, they just want to be entertained.
Female magicians must work harder to earn respect than their male counterparts. Countless times while setting up my props backstage for a show I was hired to perform in, male magicians have asked which magician I am assisting. When I tell them I am the magician, they usually are surprised.
Another challenge female magicians encounter is that most tricks and routines in books or on DVDs are designed for the male performer. I had to create my own methods for prop management (including loads and productions) that would work with my costumes and style of performing. Patter usually needs to be changed to fit females also.
2. What can magic organizations do to be more welcoming to female magicians?
Here are a few ideas which magic organizations can use to be more welcoming to female magicians.
1) Monthly magic magazines could have columns relating directly to female magicians. The columns could discuss costume ideas, a female slant on tricks and information for the wives of magicians.
2) Convention bookers could hire more female magicians to lecture. There are plenty of qualified female magicians for either close up or stage.
3) Conventions could have an all female line-up for an evening show. In 2006 I performed in the All Girls Gala for the Society of American Magicians Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. We received a lot of positive feedback from both male and female magicians about this show.
4) Contest organizers could give special recognition to female magicians in contests.
5) Males should have a positive attitude towards females at magic get-togethers. They shouldn’t assume all females are the wives or assistants of male magicians. Male magicians should not have the preconceived notion that women will perform magic tricks the same way as men. Finally, men should not assume all female magicians are beginners, or that they only perform tricks with flowers and silks.