Publishing, One More Bastian of Male Chauvanist Pigs (Apparently)
Franklin, who was chagrined to find that only 33 percent of the books she reviewed last year were by women, concluded that "magazines are reviewing female authors in something close to the proportion of books by women published each year. The question now becomes why more books by women are not getting published." Since publishing a book tends to burnish the reputation of a reviewer or essayist (just as publishing well-received reviews and essays in journals can lead to a book contract), the two situations are certainly intertwined.
...The imbalance in books published is indeed a puzzle; book publishers, like any other business, want to make money, and multiple surveys indicate that women buy and read far more books than men do. (This fact has long been established within the book business, but since some Salon readers have questioned it in the past, please see the National Endowment for the Arts "Reading at Risk" report.) If women were only -- or even primarily -- interested in books by women, the logic of the marketplace would dictate that publishers should release more titles by female authors.
So not much has changed since 1903... men still freak out imagining themselves as women, but women are complacent about the reverse.
The only thing I can't figure out is if this study included geenre romance books. As far as I can tell, those are reviewed by most "serious" reviewers (fantasy and sf aren't either, with some notable exceptions), and I think most of the authors in that genre are female. Interestingly, when male romance authors usually use a female pen name--a fact that seems to imply female readers are looking for female authors.