In recent years, a lot of attention has been focused on the gender bias in the publishing industry. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of readers are women, male authors still enjoy the lion’s share of media attention, awards, covers of popular magazines, and reviews in influential newspapers and journals.
Organizations such as VIDA do a tremendous service by holding book review publications accountable with its widely-read annual counts. Take a look at the 2013 count here.
The counts show – by publication – how many books were reviewed each year, breaking it down by books written by male authors and female authors. In 2013 in The London Review of Books – a staggering 245 books by male author were reviewed versus a mere 72 by women authors. This is really a shame, since there are so many talented female authors out there who do not get their fair share of mainstream media attention.
In this type of atmosphere, it’s not surprising to see social media stepping in to level the playing field. I was pleased to discover social media’s attempts to narrow the gender gap in the publishing industry.
The #ReadWomen2014 is another great initiative. In recent years, my reading list has skewered heavily female, so I expect 2014 will continue in that vein.
But I think it’s important that women readers- especially as the predominant consumers in a position to influence the publishing industry – take it upon themselves to get the word out about all the wonderful books out there by talented women authors who apparently will never be found in the pages of The London Review of Books and other mainstream review outlets.
So readers, inform yourself about this worthy campaign and support female authors in 2014. Happy reading!