Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Women in Literary Arts

Women in Literature is the theme of a new literary conference and organization that is being formed by a group of writers who have concerns about the organization of this year's AWP conference and its panel discussions.

I, too, notice a nagging disparity in the prominence of men and women in literary arts. It seems to me to reflect the persistence of male chauvinism in American society, though I do believe this old-generation attitude is waning. It just isn't waning fast enough, I think. So the emergence of organizations of women writers is a natural occurrence to redress the disbalance. It will be interesting to see how this organization develops and how much energy is behind it.

Equality and freedom seem to be key issues around the globe right now, bubbling up in countries like Iran, which is undergoing a transformation of its culture from the bottom up -- and that is involving women taking leadership roles. Women tend to lead differently than men. They often lead by example and by collaborative efforts. It will be interesting to see how a woman President operates, when the day comes that America is ready to give that kind of respect to a woman, to allow her to lead the country.

1 comment:

  1. What's worrisome to me is how the problem works seemingly on a subconscious. I asked my five second-year grad students to teach a full-length collection in the coming term, and only one chose a woman, although the poets are otherwise very diverse. There was a time in the past as an editor that I worried because I was printing more male than female poets, too -- but this problem seems to have worked itself out, maybe just because I recognized it. Now the mix is more even, and sometimes the scales tip toward the females.

    It's a pernicious problem -- and one that well-meaning people are part of. Let's hope this new conference/forum helps bring about some equality.