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How many people does it take to say that the gender inbalance in SF outlets is a problem before it's seriously acknowledged, and accepted, as a problem?

Reasons, blame, motives, agenda, solutions and reason aside.

When is it allowed to be just ... an issue?

When will we be able to get past that discussion and start looking deeper at the more interesting aspects of it?


Jan. 12th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
My point is that there is little point discussing, for example, discrimination against female writers, without making some attempt to determine if it actually exists - simply looking at the number of items published doesn't do that.

The aspect which would not be covered in your proposition, which does not discredit the discussion, is whether women do not submit to outlets that are seen to be biased away from publishing women. This is the part of the debate where numbers lie, and cannot be used to explore the whole issue.

And if you ask women, they do steer away from submitting to certain outlets for fear of wasting their time.

As I said, the issue is not simple and a simple analysis will not reveal all that is going on. Much as men would like it to be that way.
Jan. 12th, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)
Of course it's not a simple issue - that's why actually looking at the statistics is important. If outlets publish more stories written by men than women, there are only two possible reasons:

-They have a biased submission process, and reject a higher proportion of stories written by women

-They have an ubiased selection process, but fewer women submit stories.

The former implies that the outlets 'seen to be biased' really are, and pressure needs to be put on them to redress the issue by changing the selection process (and/or the editors). The latter implies that the apparent bias is not real, and women writers need to be encouraged to submit articles to these outlets. The fact that big magazines don't release the numbers on rejected submissions is a hint that they have a reason (ie, maybe they really are biased), but it's not proof.

Having actual figures would let you distinguish which case is which, and change it. The statistics are a crucial part of analysing the problem and finding a solution, you can't dismiss them with '... numbers lie, and cannot be used to explore the whole issue'. Statements like that are an open invitation to dismiss your entire argument as subjective and unsubstantiated.

Numbers are like facts - they simply exist, they don't lie.
Jan. 12th, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
Well there's always the interpretation of the numbers :-)

But yeah, where I can get the numbers, I will.

And of course, we could always be touchy and feely and just generally encourage more women to submit ...

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