I have my suspicion confirmed when I read this following information about who the avid readers are and how female writers fare compared to male counterparts in terms of reviews and publicity. The statistics tells a story of the tough reality some or most women, in this case, writers, face in our society. You may wish to do some research on your own over the internet. It is interesting to note that there are more women readers than men in Britain. What makes the British women read more? This is a worthy topic to research into. Do women read reviews and buy books accordingly? Or do they have their own mind and ignore the critics? Interesting. This reminds me of the famous Bible character Mary who ignored the male critics and insisted on pouring her priceless perfume over her Lord as her highest form of appreciation and honor. The rest is history.
The following are quotes/excerpts:
Quotes from: Research shows male writers still dominate books world : Statistics from US campaigners Vida confirm dramatic gender imbalance in literary critics and the authors reviewed (The Guardian, February 4, 2011)
“The gender imbalance at the heart of the British and American literary establishment has been laid bare by a new study confirming that leading literary magazines focus their review coverage on books written by men, and commission more men than women to write about them. Statistics compiled by Vida, an American organisation for women in the literary arts, found gender imbalances in every one of the publications cited, ”
Quotes from: Male writers continue to dominate literary criticism, Vida study finds (The Guardian, April 7, 2015)
“The continuing bias towards men in the British and American literary establishment has been confirmed by a study released on Tuesday. Vida, a US organisation championing women in literature, examined a wide range of publications from both sides of the Atlantic, including.., and found that in 2014 the majority still had heavily male-centred literary coverage, both in their use of reviewers and the books that were reviewed. The figures are at odds with the publishing industry in the UK, where some of the biggest-selling authors of 2014 were Hilary Mantel, Donna Tartt and Kate Mosse. Women are also responsible for buying two-thirds of the books sold in Britain and figures compiled in 2009 found almost 50% of women were avid readers, compared with 26% of men.
The figures did show a gradual but still notable shift. Of the 15 major magazines surveyed, 14 had seen an increase in content by women over the past year, and for the first time in at least five years the New York Times Book Review had more female reviewers than male ones – an increase of 41 from the year before. Similarly the New Yorker had 17 more female contributors than in 2013, continuing a five-year trend, while in Granta original submissions were split almost equally between female and male writers.”
Erin Belieu, the co-founder of Vida, said: “We want editors, readers and writers to be aware of their habits and open their mind to other voices, and we at Vida do really think that is genuinely happening. And I would say overall we have seen a lot of positive trends over the duration of the five years we’ve compiled these these figures. Absolutely there is still this gender bias inherent in literary magazines. We are talking about people who have done things a certain way for many years and literary magazines tend to be places where one vision gets put forward and even commissioning editors can get trapped in this culture. But generationally I think it is a problem that is going to be taking care of itself more and more. People under the age of 40 have been raised in an entirely different environment.” She added: “Is it true that women are raised to feel culturally very uncomfortable putting themselves forward? Maybe not as true as it used to be – but of course it still has an impact. But we see Vida as a form of erosion, making gradual but permanent change.”
The Latest: a better picture:
Female authors make inroads at major publications – survey
Bylines by women at the New York Times Book Review and the New Republic are among the ‘dramatic increases’ over the last year, according to Vida’s annual survey of the publishing gender split (The Guardian, March 31, 2016)
For the first time, this year’s Vida count also looked at female reviewers and authors’ race and ethnicity, sexual identity and ability after surveying almost 700 female writers, finding that straight, white, able-bodied women were best represented. In these respects, some female writers better represented in print, Vida said in its report, asking: “To what extent is the status quo rendered bankrupt by such glaring absences? If the literary landscape is dominated by specific groups, how can we be healthy as a society and benefit from both our differences and commonalities? Isn’t one of literature’s effects to humanise populations beyond our own?”