Statistics show that the majority of novelists, playwrights, lyricists and screenwriters are men. According to the New Republic 84% of the books reviewed by the New York Review of Books were written by men. Only 25-30% of books being published by the major imprints – Knopf, Random House, Norton and Little Brown – are by women. The inequity is not only in the US. VIDA did a study of writers in the UK and Europe. The disparity is the same. Fewer women are being published, fewer women are writing book reviews. This makes me wonder. Think back to boys and girls, early and late teens and even into college age. Which ones had their noses always in books? Which ones always had notebook and pen at hand. Right – girls.
Girls are the ones writing in their journals, writing poetry to document their emotions, excelling in English. Boys are doing other things. Yet, as statistics show, all their previous writing, their passion for writing and reading didn’t lead to literary careers. Sure many don’t want a career in writing but many do. So what happened?
How do the boys who never showed any interest in writing or in literature turn into men who are suddenly the best writers (assuming only the best get hired)? Are boys secretly writing? Would we discover stacks of journals hidden under beds beneath Playboys?
Could it be that girls are damaged by too much writing? Does juvenile writing harm your adult writing? Do girls write themselves out? Do girls peak too early?
It couldn’t be that gender bias causes men to be hired over women. That doesn’t happen anymore. There must be a scientific cause, a logical, quantifiable reason. Perhaps there’s a grant out there to study this. Are there any women interested in writing the application?