Female Science Fiction Writers – Go Figure

Oh dear… the row about the lack of women science fiction writers has erupted yet again, this time as part of the general row resulting from the Hugo awards about the bias towards straight male writers…

And this row will not go away until we either have a reasonable explanation of why there are so comparatively few female science fiction writers or there are actually more female science fiction writers.

Julia Crisp recently blogged about the the percentages of novels submitted to Tor UK by men and women in different genres… and yes there were 22% women to 78% men.

Now we have the SFWA saying their membership is 46% females and 52% male (with 2% undeclared).

Just look at the difference! This is too big a difference to be due to statistical randomness.

So where did the missing 24% of women go to? We are talking a whopping 1 in 4 submissions going astray. ONE IN FOUR!!!!

And this is despite the help from people like Ian Sales who try to promote women science fiction writers… so in a sense the situation is even worse.

I’m not here to complain about the fact they are not going out, finding and publishing good female writers. After all, with them not finding and pushing out such good science fiction, they are not getting the public interested in reading science fiction, which means the public won’t buy as many of their books. At the end of the day, this lack of foresight will hit their profits.

… yes this is called shooting yourself in the foot. … and yes I know of some very good lady authors who deserve to be published…

What I am sick of is this whinging of … ‘if we don’t get the submissions from female writers, we can’t publish them.’ With that discrepancy in numbers, it won’t take that much effort to find the lady writers. So the question I have for the publishing industry is, ‘Why are you turning off women science fiction writers?’

On a more positive note… it seems tor.com have changed their submissions policy to encourage, amongst others, more women science fiction writers as a result of Hugo row. This is what I mean about about a little bit of effort… When is the r rest of the publishing industry going to follow suite? Otherwise, tor.com will be making more profits than the other publishing houses.

3 thoughts on “Female Science Fiction Writers – Go Figure

  1. Unfortunately, this is never going to go away while the perceptions remain that a) women do not read science fiction and b) therefore it will not be read by women.

    I still think there is an over-riding issue in writing fiction that men write for men and women write for women – as those men are only capable of writing about sciencey stuff and explosions and women are only capable of writing about baking, romance and strained familial relationships.

    It’s all really rather silly. Most people who enjoy reading care not for the gender of the writers of their favourite books so why does the publishing industry stick to this attitude?

  2. Hm… I totally agree with you it’s rather silly… but it has got to the ‘it’s blatantly obvious there is injustice being done,’ to women science fiction writers.

    That might all change next year… I’ve beta-read a novel that is to be published next year. It rather explodes all the myths you mentioned in one fell swoop! But I’m not going to say any more because I don’t want to impinge on contract clauses etc.

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