Women in Translation – The Numbers

Over at the Three Percent blog Chad W Post has some data on the gender of writers whose work gets translated. This is for all fiction, not just SF&F, and the publication dates covered are 2008-2014. The numbers are stark. Post says:

I suspected going into this that there would be significantly more male authors published in translation than women, but I figured it would be more like a 60-40 split, not 71-27. That’s brutal.

Breaking the data down, there are 14 countries that manage 50% or better. Mostly this is because the actual numbers are very small. Wales, for example, has 100% women, but only one actual book in translation. Croatia does pretty well with 50% from 8 books. However, the only country in that group with significant numbers of works is Finland with 62% from 28 books.

I note in passing that Croatia and Finland are both countries that have made me very welcome.

Also I should note that Post appears to have assumed that gender is binary. The missing 2% in his figures above are books which are co-authored by people of more than one gender (for example the Engelfors Trilogy). Given how hard it is just to get binary gender data when dealing with other cultures, I’m not going to complain too much about that.

2 thoughts on “Women in Translation – The Numbers

  1. Those are some sad statistics, and not very surprising. Spain had only 24%, and that may be because Spanish women are discouraged from writing, along with participating in other kinds of cultural and business endeavors. It’s pretty sexist here. (I went to get reading glasses and the optometrist assumed I wanted them for needlework, not reading.)

    But you can help get Spanish women science fiction writers translated:

  2. 71% has been cropping up a lot in my research (prizes, set-texts at schools, etc). It seems to be the default amount of attention men get in the literary ecosphere.


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