Gender bias discussions

The following timeline traces selected gender bias discussions in Australia. Articles appear in reverse chronological order so, if you want to follow the development debate and subsequent initiatives, start at the bottom.

Edited November 2016: Apologies for the gaps. If you discover any of these links are broken or know of any other relevant articles to add to the list, please get in touch via our contact page.

September 2016

Jamison, Ann. “Who do you think you are?” Australian Women Writers via Australian Women’s History Network blog: Anne Jamison reflects on contemporary and historical issues surrounding Australian women’s literature in anticipation of the Australian Women’s Writing Symposium, the State Library of New South Wales on November 3, 2016.

July 2016

Kon-yu, Natalie. On sexism and literary prize culture. (15 July 2016) via Literary Hub.

June 2016

“Gender Matters: Record-breaking Funding for Women to be Seen and Heard.” Screen Australia media release 12 June 2016.

Dempster, Lisa. “If you doubted there was gender bias in literature, this study proves you wrong .” The Guardian: Books 10 June 2016.\

March 2016

Dore, Madeleine. “Research reveals continuing gender bias.” ArtsHub 8 March 2016.


Kavanagh, Bec. “Reading Like a Girl.” SCIS Connections, Issue 93/2015.

November 2014

Di Blasi, Laura. “Program to get Doris, Helen, Virginia, Jane and Charlotte back on reading lists.” The Age 17 November 2014.

June 2013

Croggon, Alison. “Gendered covers are failing young adult readers.” The Guardian 5 June 2013.

February 2013

Rizzetti, Janine. Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013. (9 February) Resident Judge blog: Discusses gender and writing/reading Australian histories.

Elphick, Nicole. ‘The Bell Jar’s Sexist Make-over. (February 4) Daily Life blog: on the 50th anniversary edition of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Kennedy, Rob. Guys Read Gals. (February 2013) New blog to raise awareness about gender bias issues and encourage men to read books by women (initially, mostly Australian).

January 2013

Edwards, Kasey. ‘Pretend to be a man.’ (15 January) Discusses the advice given to an aspiring author by an agent.


Giggs, Rebecca. Imagining Women. Overland 208.

December 2012

Gleeson-White, Jane. “The Year of Australian Women Writers.Overland.

November 2012
Moss, Tara. Our Beautiful Meritocracy. (18 November 2012): quotes a damning study on gender bias.

Tuffield, Aviva. How to Inspire Men to Read Books by Women. ( 7 November 2012)

April 2012
Wessely, Tehani Croft. A Look at the Aurealis Awards (11 April 2012): a look at gender statistics for Australian SciFi, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction and Horror writing.

March 2012

McNeill, Dougal. You don’t read women authors, do you? Overland Journal (21 March 2012)

Tranter, Kirsten. Why Women Writers Get a Smaller Slice of Pie. The Wheeler Centre: Books, writing ideas blog. (8 March 2012)

Brady, M.D. Gender and Writing. (8 March 2012)

Whitfield, Sophia. Gender bias in the Australian literary pages #AWW2012 (3 March 2012)

Tierney, James. The Stories We’re Told. (3 March 2012)

January 2012

Hogan, Ron. More Thoughts on Gender Bias and Book reviews. (31 January 2012)

Sullivan, Jane. “A Woman’s Place: Sexism in Literature.” (13 January 2012)

December 2011

Myer, Angela. Literary Minded blog: Guest Post: Jack Heath spent a year reading books by women. (2 Dec 2011)

Lhuede, Elizabeth. “Because I was invited; Or why looking for a kangaroo isn’t going to cut it for Australian Women’s Writing.” Rationale Behind Australian Women Writers 2012 Challenge, guest blog at Sisters in Crime. (8 Dec 2011)

Kakmi, Dmitri. Ladies Who Write. “The Australian Women Writers 2012 Book Reading and Reviewing Challenge is on and you are invited to take part — especially if you’re a man.” [Emphasis added] (15 Dec 2011)

Adventures of a Bookonaut. “A Response to Dmetri Kakmi.” (20 Dec 2011)

November 2011

Readings revised list of Top 10 best crime fiction for 2011, created by 2011 Scarlet Stiletto Award winner Angela Savage, which featured 7/10 Australian women crime writers.

Readings’ Bookstores list of “The Best Crime Fiction of 2011” which 9/10 books by men.

– When analysed, Readings’ track record of reviews in 2011 of crime fiction on their “Dead Write” page was 16/72 books by women (another appeared in the New Fiction page). Only 2 of these 72 books were written by Australian women writers. The Dead Write page was compiled by Fiona Hardy. Surprisingly, another of the compilers of the final list was Stella Prize committee member Jo Case, author of the “Sausagefest problem” article that appeared earlier in the year. The number of Australian women crime authors who published this year was at least 19, as shown in this list.

October 2011

Blacklock, Diane. The Chick Lit debate continues. (10 October, 2011)

Cunningham, Sophie. “The kind of privileged whining that annoys the crap out of me.” Stella Prize panelist comments on the aftermath of Tara Moss’s blog. (21 Oct, 2011)

Moss, Tara. Are Our Sisters in Crime (still) fighting against a male-dominated literary world? (11 Oct, 2011)

September 2011

Flint, Nicole. Do Australian women need a literary leg-up? (22 September, 2011)

– “Women today could do much by following [Dame Enid Lyon’s] example and living by her words, justifying themselves not as women, but as citizens, capable of engaging in the field of literary endeavour not as a ‘…special class of underachievers” but as equals’.”

July 2011

Cunningham, Sophie. A Prize of One’s Own: Flares, Cockforests and Dreams of a Common Language. Kill Your Darlings, Issue 6. July 2011. Or Why We Still Need Feminism. Video link. July 2011.

Gupta, Vani. When Genres Attack 2: Attack of the 50ft Heroine. When Genres Attack. (23 July 2011)

– Account of an event chaired by Mark Harding of Shearers’ bookshop with authors Kirsten Tranter, PM Newton, Mardi McConnochie and Georgia Blain. Panellists advocated “a more textured, layered approach to the portrayal of women in fiction”.

June 2011

Mayer, Peta. Women’s writing and the literary Prize. (16 June, 2011) Academic article on the discursive formation of “Anita Brookner” as a “women’s writer”, giving a context for Brookner’s rejection of special prizes for women’s writing.

May 2011

Sanders, Zora. New Australian Fiction Prize for Women. Zora Sanders and Sophie Cunningham discuss the importance of genre bias when considering gender bias.

Meyer, Angela. Let’s Read writing by women. Literary Minded, Crikey blog (May, 2011).

– Meyer comments on the previous post and contemplates a writing project for 2012 where she reads 20 books by women.

T. Sue. Whispering Gums blog: Monday Musing on Australian Literature: Where are our women writers? (30 May, 2011)

– Mentions a few classics as well as the current debate.

Cunningham, Sophie. 4 May, 2011 Australian “Orange Prize” to promote Women Writers’ Status.

April 2011

Case, Jo. Who Likes Short Shortlists. (On the Sausagefest problem.) Kill Your Darlings. (April 2011)

Croggan, Alison. Is it a Man’s World, literally? (20 April, 2011)

March 2011

Tranter, Kirsten. Why are women missing from the literary pages? Wheeler Centre Blog (March, 2011)

Roil, Amy. A snippet of Girl Power on International Women’s Day. (From Bookwitch blog, 8 Mar, 2011)

McNeill, Dougal. You don’t read women authors, do you? (Overland blog, 21 March 2012)

Case, Jo. Women in Print: An International Women’s Day Discussion. Kill Your Darling‘s editorial, Killings. (March, 2011)

February 2011

Who’s Writing Literary Reviews? ABC Podcast (22 Feb, 2011)


Lamond, Julianne. Stella vs Miles: Women Writers and Literary Value in Australia. Meanjin Volume 70, Number 3, 2011