The issue about the bias against women science fiction and fantasy writers just will not go away. Why? Because it’s a bias that is real, tangible and has evidence.
The latest bit if evidence comes from Juliet McKenna about Waterstones having a bias towards displaying male-authored books. See here. This evidence has been added to by Cheryl Morgan saying that businesses have a bias against women in an indirect way. See here.
Quite frankly, the fact that this is still going on, nearly a hundred years after women earned the right to vote, is disgusting. If the genre can’t be fair and seen to be fair, then it deserves to wither and die. No right-minded citizen would condone such behaviour, and they’ll vote with feet and with what they choose to purchase.
The trouble is that such actions will take the innocent down with them, the ones who are trying to do a good job, develop their art and generally give good entertainment. And this will happen as society in general becomes more fair-minded and justice-conscious over time, which in turn is a driver for globalisation. [Hint – this is a good theme for a science fiction story.]
And the publishing industry being in an chaotic maelstrom is no excuse. Decent people do not tolerate such biases, rise to the occasion and after a while get rewarded for their acting with honour. What is more, their businesses do well. [Look at history if you want the evidence.]
What I find extremely worrying is the comment on Cheryl’s blog:
“At Finncon Elizabeth Bear noted that she found UK publishers much more hostile to women SF writers than in the USA.”
When you push the logic through it boils down to this:
The British publishing industry will give way to, be bought out by, whatever, the American publishing industry. End of story.