Publishing’s Gender Pay Gap

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, full-time working women in the United States earned only 80.5 cents for every one dollar earned by men. Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation. Disappointingly for a profession where creativity is without gender, this pay gap exists for book authors, too.

Indeed, publishing’s gender pay gap is a rather remarkable one, as a scholarly paper recently published in PLOS One has founded. The paper’s researchers examined more than two million book titles published between 2002 and 2012 – and they discovered that book titles by female authors command nearly half (45%) the price of male authors’ books. Women are also underrepresented as authors in many prestigious genres. The digital revolution that gave rise to independent publishing in the last decade has even replicated the traditional segregation and discrimination.

“We find that indie publishing, though more egalitarian, largely replicates traditional publishing’s gender discrimination patterns,” according to the study’s co-author Dana Beth Weinberg.

“We conclude that, with greater freedom, workers in the gig economy may be inclined to greater equality but will largely replicate existing labor market segmentation and the lower valuation of female-typical work and of female workers,” she notes. A professor of Sociology at Queens College-CUNY, Weinberg is an “indie” author, too, having self-published the Russian mafia crime series, Kings of Brighton Beach, under the pseudonym D. B. Shuster.

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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