Talkin' About: Gender and Books, A Correlation?

Gender and Books, A Correlation?
Hey everyone! Today I have a very interesting...but possibly touchy subject about gender, authors and books. Being familiar with YA and hoping to read more classics, I can't help but notice the gender differences between those drastically different genres, and the book industry in general. 

First things first: To my limited knowledge, women are more involved in the publishing industry than men. Specifically white women, but that is a whole new topic. In this article from The Guardian, it talks about a survey for the staff at 34 American publishers, and the results: 79% were white, 78% were female. 

I've said this many times, but I think it's so important: Books have the power to change lives. They need to be handled mindfully and need to promote diversity and encourage different perspectives. So having too much of one gender (male or female) cannot be good. Especially in YA, I have definitely noticed that most of the books I read are written by female authors. So yes, there is a slight issue there. (Another issue that comes up a lot is the fact that more girls read than boys do...but that's for later.)

But then I turn around and look at my Classics shelf, which is dominated by white British and American men. Seriously. It's very terrifying. The first time I began to read classics I was fascinated by the sophistication and the thought, but after a few, I began to realize I might be getting a very one sided idea of the world. (Read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, or Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre). So it's definitely time for change. Women that are not Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf deserve to reserve their stories on the shelves. 

And men still dominate the scheme. I went on the Pulitzer Prize page and looked at the recipients, quite a lot (more than half) were male. Newspapers are more likely to review books written by men. Women may be dominating YA, but certainly not other fields. 

I haven't done extensive research into this issue, and may not have statistics to back me up just yet. But I do think this is a concern that should be addressed from both sides, just in the name of diversity. And again, my message to you is read widely. Read YA, read adult, read middle grade, read classics. But also read stories about boys, girls, members of the LGBTQ+ community, books that have been translated from other languages, books that show PERSPECTIVE. 

Because that is why we read. And maybe this gender imbalance might right itself if we keep that sense of urgency in our mind.



  1. Great post Kate! I think I'd like to see more males take on YA, the few that I have read have been very creative and I love reading things from a different point of view. I've actually only read one classic from a male, which is weird considering they do dominant the classic scene, but the female books I have read have been incredible.

    1. Thanks Emily! I definitely agree, especially with male characters that are well portrayed. I feel like I have a tendency to lean towards more interesting, maybe easier, classics and I have also read a lot of classics written by females...except for virginia woolf books. Those are too hard for my simple brain.