So if you’re a person that writes literary fiction and you happen to have a vagina, it’s less probable that your work will be reviewed in a top-tier literary journal or paper. If your protagonist does not have a penis, your work is statistically less likely to win major literary awards. Awards, reviews and everyday experience tell us, and have been telling us for years, that the viewpoints and experiences of women are less relevant and meaningful to the world than those of men.
It is not okay to dismiss the work and the perspective of a gender, just as it’s not acceptable to dismiss a nationality, say, or a race, whether purposely or thoughtlessly. When we refer to one gender almost exclusively – for literature, or music, or anything – we are neglecting the other, and we are becoming oppressors to both.
–Sarah Davis-Goff on messages.
Davis-Goff goes on to talk about her own experiences in slush pile reading, looking at what authors are listed as influences in query letters. She found,
Out of the last 100 submissions, 148 influences have been referenced. Only 33 of the writers listed as influences are female. So that’s a whopping 22% right there.