Cam's Blog

September 14, 2010

Gender bias in reviewing books

Filed under: Books, Innumeracy, Math — cfranc @ 11:13 am

There’s a bit of a stink in the world of book-reviews these days, the contention being that books by men are being reviewed more than books by women. For example, check out this piece in Slate today. It seems that most articles on this subject look simply at the number of reviews by gender for a given publication, over a period of time. An inequality there does signify some sort of gender bias, but what these articles often fail to point out is that the bias needn’t necessarily be the fault of the reviewers.

For example, if men are simply writing more books than females, it would be completely reasonable for there to be a bias in the reviews as well. The issue would then be, Why are women not getting published as much? (Or, Why are they not writing as much? if the fault isn’t with the publishers.)

That being said, I’m nearly finished the new Franzen book, Freedom, which ignited many of these fires. It’s good, and I heartily recommend it.


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