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Pickle Me This

February 9, 2011

How about this? One magazine thinks about its gender gap.

From Kim Jernigan’s introduction to The New Quarterly 117: “When making their choices for this issue, the poetry editors were thinking seasonal, in part, but our fiction editors, of which I’m one, were thinking thematic. Worrying, I should say, that our choices might be falling into a predictable pattern, specifically that we were tending too often to mother/daughter stories. Four of our five editors on the fiction side are women, and of those, three are mothers. Were we looking to see our own lives reflected on the page?

…But I think our choices reflect less our demographic than the thematic cast of the submissions as a whole. For whatever reason, the fiction we receive tends not towards work, or war, politics or race relations or environmental catastrophe, but towards the familial and relational.

At least we’ve captured some fathers and sons this round…”

In a week during in which we were once again informed that the gender gap for magazine contributers continues to be gaping, it was refreshing to read of an editor and her editorial board conducting their business with these ideas in mind. It would nice if more editors would do the same, in particular those whose mags are suffering from a dearth of women writers.

And “suffering” is the right word. Come on now, it’s not like magazines are doing really well the way things are. Something needs to change, and correcting this disparity this would be a step in the right direction. I’m not just ranting on principle either– a diverse body of writers makes for better and more interesting content. Everybody wins.

2 thoughts on “How about this? One magazine thinks about its gender gap.”

  1. The New Quarterly is very conscientious.
    Wish the others were as well.

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