What We Can All Do To Help Fix Sexism In Publishing
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The Field Of Publishing Is Sexist — Here's What We Can All Do To Help Women

We've come so far, but there is still so much to be done.

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 woman sitting outside writing

The New York Times ran for 160 years before a female editor-in-chief was hired.

The Brontë sisters used male pen names so their work would sell.

Over 80 percent of the most popular novels are written by men.

Shirley Jackson, author of "The Lottery" was ignored when she adamantly told the nurses she was a writer at the time of her third child's birth, and was, instead, labeled as a housewife.

Almost every genre of fiction is male-dominated, while women are only successful in stereotypical, "preferred" genres.

This article serves as an outcry against the publishing industry's bias against women.

Authors like Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, poets like Emily Dickinson and Maya Angelou, dealt with the pain and anguish of being a woman writer in an era where men dominated the fields of both fiction and publication.

Still today, even the most prominent female writers don't make as much as the most prominent male writers.

In the past few centuries, women writers have fought against society's desire to silence their voices, to label them as inferior to men, to label them as irrelevant, or melodramatic, or too feely.

If the Brontë sisters had not published their work under a male name and had chosen to use their own, their timeless pieces of literature and poetry would not have sold, and could possibly have never been discovered.

Maya Angelou faced many odds in her lifetime.

As a woman, and one of color, she defied societal norms and paved her way, becoming a successful and crucial piece in the history of women writers and BIPOC female writers.

Women writers have been marginalized in history, ignored in this field where male writers are most prominent and over-represented. In her extended essay, "A Room of One's Own," Virginia Woolf argues for both literal and figurative space for women in a literary world dominated by men.

Space needs to be made so female voices can be heard.

In the past, women's writing had only been appreciated by women and was deemed insignificant and uninteresting by most men.

However, many male authors have stood with women writers.

For example, John Stuart Mill, in "The Subjection of Woman," calls the existing social relations between men and women, the subordination of one to the other, wrong, and must be replaced by complete and perfect equality, with neither man nor woman greater or lesser than the other.

Due to massive growth in creative writing degrees earned by women between 1988 and 2000, there has been a large shift and outpouring of novels written by women that proved women writers were as commercially valuable as men. But this is the problem.

Women had to prove they were valuable.

While women have gained a footing in fiction and novel-writing, publishing companies fail to see how pieces written by women are just as, if not more so, marketable as those written by men. As seen previously, the New York Times didn't hire a female editor-in-chief until 160 years after its first publication.

Women are severely underrepresented because there is an obvious bias toward men in the publishing industry.

So, what can we do? The road to becoming a bonafide journalist is exhausting and difficult, and when I, a female, am entered into this mix, the battle to build a career in my desired field becomes even more taxing. In almost all industries, and specifically in the writing industry, the battle has hardly begun.

There is a long way to go before women are given the same opportunities as men in the journalism field.

This journey to gender fairness in the media is continuous, and while there is so much growth occurring, more must be done so equality and fair representation are present in the literary publication field.

There is so much good being done. Let this growth and girl power inspire you, and let it evoke your inner writer.

Happy writing — here's to making change.

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