By: Marissa Specioso
Let me start by asking a question to the female readers, do you feel as if you are treated as equal as the men surrounding you? This question seems to have caused a lot of controversy over the years, and with recent events of the 2016 election, it seems to be a topic of choice among many.
Over the course of history in the United States, women have been fighting for equal rights as men. The unequal treatment started pre-settlement and continues to present day (Womens Rights). Women have been working on several rights movements since this time, but what is most shocking happened on January 21st 2017. Decades later and women are still fighting for their rights. The Women’s March not only took place in the United States, but all over the world. Women gathered in protest for several purposes, but all seeming to surround the ideal of equal rights (Women’s March).
And of course there are a handful of people out there that were against the march and do not believe in the fight for women’s equal rights. But I ask them this, do you not see what is occurring around the world? or do you just turn you head away from the facts? Daniel Jose Older talks in his article; Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing, about how people turn a blind eye to racism. His article talks primarily about racism and how it is influencing the literary publishing world, but it goes hand in hand with i’m trying to say…NOT EVERYONE IS TREATED EQUAL.
So what will it take to make you believe? Statistics? Oh great, because I have some. Let’s start with the article that sparked this post. VIDA: An Interview with Erin Belieu talks specifically about women in the literary publishing industry not having equal rights of male writers (VIDA is a non-profit feminist organization). Each year they come out with a count that examines women’s rights in the workforce. Below is one of several charts that VIDA has provided to show the gap between men and women in the industry. Getting the idea now? (VIDA)
So we have talked about women in the literary industry, but as you can guess, this happens in any industry too. So lets talk about some more statistics. In March of 2016, Forbes put out an article with yet again, more proof, that women do not have the same rights as men. What argument a lot of people make is “They deserve more money because they have jobs that deserve more pay”. And although this statement has some truth to it, this is not what women are fighting for. They are fighting for equal pay for equal work. In the Forbes Article this is exactly what is being proven. Below there is a chart that shows the salary differences between a male and a female, that have the same position/job. Jonathan Webb writes “women are earning less for the same work” (Forbes).
I could continue to right about these statistics for days, but the bigger idea is not the proof, it is about what needs to be done. After the 2016 election the Women’s March occurred. This was one step in the right direction for equal rights. So what about companies having equal pay? Well rumor has it, that it is starting to occur after several protests. If you haven’t heard the news yet then you may be interested to know, that ‘Big Bang Theory’ male leads have agreed to take a pay cut, so their female leads can get a pay increase (Huffington Post).
So within the Literary Publishing community, everyone needs to come together to create equality. Community starts with people having similar interests, and from there they can create bonds and relationships that support one another. How can we support one another when we rank ourselves by money? Writers, Editors, Publishers, Artists, etc. all need to come together and support one another, no matter your age, race, religion, gender, etc. When we work together to support each others work, that is when a community is created.