New Report Reveals Gender Gap for Authors
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Award-winning investigative journalist Danuta Kean published a report showing “marked bias” towards male writers when it comes to broadsheet coverage, only a couple of weeks after ‘International Women’s Day’ was celebrated across the globe.
Image credit: Nicholas Hilliard via WikipediaThe so-called "Emilia Report" is named after Emilia Bassano, an early 17th-century author who managed to ‘play the system’ and publish a collection of poetry to sell despite strict censorship that limited women. She is said to be the muse for some of Shakespeare's work and yet, outside academic circles, her name and work remain largely unknown and much of it is assumed lost. The author of the report, Danuta Kean, explains why this report is so important. She says: “It may seem that the struggles of a 17th Century woman to be taken seriously as a poet are incomparable to modern women who have benefitted from three waves of feminism, 40 years of equality legislation, universal suffrage and advances in science that have freed them from the tyranny of their bodies, but, though the landscape of their lives may be different, the structures that inhibit their path to recognition and success are not.” The report itself was an in-depth investigation into the situation faced by woman novelists today and was commissioned by Malcolm Lloyd’s play of the same name, which aims to represent the lost voices of women. The methods chosen for this was a comparative study of ten novelists, five female and five male, published in the same genre and period of time. What it found was that women not only are much more in danger of sexism or harassment during interviews - with many stating that they have been asked for kisses or dates - but that on average male writers received more reviews than women. This all despite writing comparable fiction and the general number of female reviewers increasing. One of the women questioned was author Joanne Harris. She says:
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