The CBC Investigates Sexism in Publishing

Note Mirror At Top to Fix Hair Before Meal
First of all, Happy International Women's Day! As you may already know, we are celebrating this glorious day over at where we will be featuring women artists all week.

This short post came to me after a reader informed me that the CBC's Michael Enright did a piece (Feb. 20) on the shortage of women with bylines at major literary publications. (Link to the show at the bottom of the page.) He interviewed Ann Hays who returned her issue of the New Yorker  because it featured so few women writers and sent a letter to the publishers. She then posted it on Facebook, where it caused a sensation! To read the letter click here.

Enright also interviewed the spokesperson for VIDA Women in the Literary Arts about its publication in February entitled "the Count," in which the number of men vs. women working at literary publications had been tallied. He then spoke with several magazine editors from the US and Canada, Mother Jones and the Walrus among them, in an attempt to get to the bottom of sexism in the publishing world.

Of course, we heard, "Oh no, no, no, not at our magazine," and their figures did sound, well skewed, but I hope after hearing this, many of you will start counting the number of bylines given to women before you buy your magazine to give those old publishers a sense of what a girlcott might feel like. 

Now if the CBC would only look into its own sexist practices, such as repeatedly giving more awards to male writers (Canada Reads 80% vs. 20% in the last 10 years) and giving equal exposure to women writers, both on the air and on its website, then we might start to see some change. Nothing like pointing the finger at magazines to divert the attention from yourselves.

Just to warn you: there are a few cackle-worthy statements in this 40-minute segment. My favourite came from the editor of the legal magazine: (not verbatim, but along these lines) Well, we have to take very difficult content and make it more palatable to the reader. In other words, they have to dumb it down and apparently only men can do this...

The other hilarious statement came from the Canadian Editor of the Walrus: (again along these lines) There are more men who are willing to do freelance work because women need more job security. Ahmm...BS detector activated!

Please tell me your favourite line.

Here's the podcast: | The Sunday Edition | Women in Publishing - MMR Autism Scandal - Phil Ochs Documentary

Other posts on sexism in publishing
Guerrilla Girls, Humour and Hope
Publishing: What If...?
Publishing: What's "Good" and "Important"  (Stats on the # of books authored by women that are reviewed)
CBC: The Elephant in the Room  (Terry Fallis's book beats Carol Shields in CanadaReads)
Reads from Men



Unknown | March 8, 2011 at 9:07 AM

‎"It would be unwise to have a man writing a story about parenting." HUH???


Heather | March 8, 2011 at 6:59 PM

I caught that one too. It sounds like the publishing industry is stuck in an age when men didn't have any parenting responsibilities.

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