This is the third gender audit I have done of my reading. I last posted about it here. You can see my reasons for establishing the audit and why I think its important for me personally.
Now, this year I partook in the Australian Women Writers challenge so I am hoping to have achieved much better results than last year.
The results are in
So yes, as expected the results are almost reversed compared to last year. Still it shows that with a concentrated and structured effort to read women, there is still quite a strong presence from male authors in my reading.
It suggests to me that just intending to read more women, just being of the view that more women should be read isn’t really enough. To overcome my own subconscious cultural reading bias, a blunt instrument is required.
I am happy with the 60/40 split and will aim to mirror it again in 2013.
I have heard it said that in establishing a quota that quality will suffer. This argument presumes that male authors somehow get the top of the field by virtue of merit alone, that women aren’t in best reading lists because they just aren’t good enough. I personally think this line of reasoning displays a lack of understanding in human psychology but I’ll leave that point there.
In my sample size of “me” I have found that structured reading of women writers has resulted in no discernable drop in quality. Now of course being fully behind the concept of Australian Women Writers I can’t rule out a bias in favour of women writers but I think it more likely that there is a depth of quality in writing and that women writers of quality just need to be given “fair exposure” - I was going to say level playing field but its not really a competition, if we are looking for quality we should be trying to screen for gender bias, should be celebrating diversity.
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