Men Are Much Better Writers Than Women…Really?

Mary Ann Evans was a popular writer, poet and journalist of the 19th century; her work is still widely read and respected today. You may know her better as George Eliot. Women writers in the nineteenth century were viewed as lightweight, best suited to romantic literature, ‘chic lit’, and not the serious works which were the exclusive preserve of men. Evans herself had written a critical piece on women’s writing entitled “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists”. No wonder she felt she had to adopt a male name in order to be taken seriously as a writer. Her first novel, published in 1859 was Adam Bede.

Obviously, over 160 years later, things are very different now…aren’t they?

From the London Review of Books, 18th – 21st September 2017,

In 2015, the novelist Catherine Nichols sent the opening pages of the book she was working on to fifty literary agents. She got so little response she decided to shift gender and try as ‘George’ instead. The difference amazed her. ‘A third of the agents who saw his query wanted to see more, where my numbers never did shift from one in 25.’ The words, as written by George, had an appeal that Catherine could only envy. She also, perhaps, felt a little robbed. ‘He is eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book.’

This was hardly a scientific study, but it is tempting to join her in concluding that men and women are read differently, even when they write the same thing.

Misogyny, sexism, unconscious bias. The names may have changed over the last 160 years but the bias against women writers hasn’t. You can read the full article by Anne Enright here. Warning, it’ll make you cross.

Saw this on Twitter last week –

My friend’s coined a word: hepeated. It means when a woman suggests an idea and it’s ignored, but then a guy says same thing and everyone loves it.

If you’d care to join me on Twitter here I am. @JaneCWoods. Do say Hi.

If you haven’t yet heard, I am personally delivering a RenewYou course in Bristol on Monday, October 9th, and we can still take two more women. If you’ve been thinking about it but haven’t yet booked, give me a call, no obligation at all. We are in the delightful  company of the Bristol Law Society Headquarters, not far from Bristol Temple Meads Station. You can find out more here.


Posted on September 26th, 2017 by

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