Gender Bias at NPR: Writers and Readers Talk Back

When I looked at NPR's gender bias in its coverage of adult fiction in this week's Phoenix, I sparked a discussion about sexism in literature. Over in the comments, there's a thoughtful debate going on about potential avenues of further research. On Twitter, a bunch of sypmathetic people have spread the word, including Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner (!!!!!!).

At, Ron Hogan posted an inordinately thoughtful response about his own reviewing habits:

"When I looked back at 2011, however, I realized that my performance so far had been somewhere between the NPR and Times percentages. How did that happen? Why, despite my intentions, which had already begun to take shape, did I tend to veer towards this book rather than that one? It’s not that I’m picking “the wrong books,” I’m pretty sure of that."

Go read the rest here

But not everyone's entirely sympathetic. A few people have wondered if the fact that female readers outnumber males means that bias doesn't exist. For their information, female readers can be biased towards men, too. (And, as I said in my conclusion, I'm not innocent of bias, either.) Others wondered if the reason women publish less than men is because women write fewer books. While we figure out a way to quantify that statistic, I'd encourage those wondering about it to read this essay

So far, NPR hasn't responded to the article. But if people keep tweeting at them, maybe they'll have to.

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