I got a comment from Nicola Griffith on yesterday’s post, and I want to make sure that you all see it as it is very interesting. This is the meat what she said:
Catastrophic drop-offs happened in lots of genres, I suspect. I haven’t pulled the data together yet properly but a glance at Edgar info from the 20th C shows a similar–though I wouldn’t swear to the exact timing–effect. (I haven’t even begun to ask questions such as: “Who/how many joined crime fiction organisations?”)
Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done yet to tease out what is going on, but having drop-offs in the number of women winning awards in multiple genres at the same time points to an external explanation to what is going on. Yes, that lets me off the hook, but you have to wonder what the heck is going on. Is it a cultural rise in misogyny? Is it publishers reacting to bad economic conditions by publishing fewer women?
The one thing that is certain is that the work Nicola and her colleagues are doing looks like being invaluable. Hooray for them!