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Good News and Bad News in the Gender Wars

November 10, 2010

We’ve always known that there are significantly more women than men employed in publishing. However, the latest survey is startling – 85% of employees at publishing companies with less than four years’ experience are women. Good? Bad? Or does it make a difference?

Some in publishing argue that men in that elusive 18-35 age group are underserved, and that oversight reinforces the notion that men don’t read books once they’re done with school. There’s also concern about having enough quality children’s literature for boys.

All that leads to a phenomenon sociologists call “gendering,” used to describe a profession dominated by one gender. When this occurs (as it did years ago in fields like nursing and auto repair), the non-dominant sex often stays away. A similar problem could be happening in publishing – men who may be interested will see a sea of women in publishing offices, and stay away. And while it may be good in some ways to have a “publishing sisterhood,” the consequence is that it brings down the pay scale.  The average annual salary for women in publishing is $64,600, compared to $105,000 for men.

What are your thoughts on the apparent gender divide in the publishing world? Leave us a comment with your feedback.


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