Why do more women than men join writer’s groups?

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I was asked yesterday by a colleague why it is that the majority of people who do an MA in creative writing are women.    He asked what would we be doing to encourage more men to join. It is true that in all my years of teaching creative writing in a range of settings  – adult ed, and higher education and writing groups, its an 80/20 women to men balance.  (Screenwriting classes are usually more balanced in terms of gender though not  in terms of BAME writers – this fact is worth exploring in another post!) In the world of publishing and theatre the obverse is true.  Not only it is extremely rare for any literary magazine to have a 50/50 balance of male and female writers, (Granta is one that does)  White male editors or publishers or theatre producers may be blind to certain stories by women and BAME writers.  And the history of literature and theatre have prioritised male voices as the canon.

Women join courses partly I believe because they are not so visible in the industry,  and fee they should have  more training  etc,  out of an uncertainty that our voices and talents are hearable and appreciated.  Women are sometimes more comfortable in groups,   able to collaborate and support other women  This is not just  my hunch:  Here are some statistics from a website about women in literature. http://www.vidaweb.org/the-2017-vida-count/

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