In her recent blog post, novelist Nicola Griffith pointed out that books about women rarely win important awards in the literary world like the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. For example, the Pulitzer Prize from 2000 to 2015 was not awarded to one novel that featured a woman as a main character -- a shocking fact that tells society that the lives of women and stories about them aren't noteworthy. She argues, accurately so, that this is due to the lack of representation of women in the publishing world. Her article points that due to the vast majority of publishing CEOs being male, most of the books nominated for famous literary awards feature male characters.
Griffith's self-conducted study might be shocking, especially considering all the well-known or best-selling women authors that have gained popularity in the past decade. This shock highlights a major misconception in society -- people, including women themselves, are often persuaded by the appearance of progress of gender equality that they ignore the facts. Society assumes that the increase of women in the workforce translates to a more equal representation of women in the work world. This is unfortunately false. Although more women may be working for companies like publishing companies for example, there is a "glass-ceiling" that prevents them from moving up the ranks in these companies. Griffith explains, "We have an overwhelming cultural bias that is against women, and is against the domestic."
To say solving the problem of not enough women in positions of power is complex would be an understatement. There are many issues that must be addressed to remove the "glass ceiling" for women. First of all, the stigma of women in society must be broken down. Society still seems far from achieving that goal seeing that just last week country radio consultant Keith Hill claimed that statistics show the best way to increase listeners of country radio is to take women off the air.
Secondly, women must fight the stigma themselves. Griffith pointed out that "women can be just as bad, sometimes even worse, than men" when it comes to conforming to the societal norm that women are just "domestic". In my post, "Personal Branding or Reinvention?," I encourage women not to be discouraged by all the ways society seems to say that the average women can't -- the pay gap, the "biological time clock", and more. Every woman has their own voice -- and these voices collectively make up an entire half of the population. Represent that half -- be heard.
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