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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Women of words: gender equality in 21st century Scottish book publishing
Author(s): Neuwirth, Christina
Supervisor(s): Squires, Claire
Reeder, Elizabeth
Armstrong, Caitrin
Keywords: gender
queer methods
Issue Date: 15-Aug-2022
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The UK publishing industry has an equality problem. Recent research reveals systemic gender, ethnicity and class bias (Ramdarshan Bold 2021; Brook, O’Brien, and Taylor 2018; Saha and van Lente 2020; Marsden 2019). Focusing on gender, this thesis shows that Scotland is not exempt from inequality, despite ranking third in the world for female political empowerment (Paterson 2018). As such, this thesis examines the quantifiable difference between men’s literary sector output and that of women and non-binary people. It asks how gender inequality manifests in the contemporary Scottish literary sector, and explores whether a new literary prize could effectively address these issues. Working as part of ROAR, a literary advocacy group, this thesis employs a multimodal methodology of semi-structured interviews with tastemakers in the Scottish literary sector, and statistical analysis of gender distribution in publishing, reviewing, festivals (2017-2019) and prizes (1919-2021). Findings indicate continued gender inequality, with women and non-binary authors rarely exceeding 40% of authors published, reviewed, platformed or awarded with prizes. The data further suggest that gender inequality manifests in the Scottish literary sector through closed networks, the devaluing of women’s creative and administrative labour, and workplace discrimination and harassment. This persists through tastemakers’ narrowed scope of agency, whose self-perception includes having good intentions, being only small parts of complex interconnected agents, and who see the Scottish literary sector as not having enough resources to achieve change. Together, these factors generate a tacit acceptance of the status quo, allowing for inaction. Finally, this thesis demonstrates that Scottish literary prizes are enmeshed in existing knowledge hierarchies and that a new literary prize would not sufficiently address issues of gender inequality. The thesis then offers recommendations to the Scottish literary sector for effective change through internal monitoring, pay transparency, valuing equalities skills in hiring practices, and addressing sexual harassment.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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