Women in book publishing — a ‘feminised’ sector?
The book publishing industry is frequently cited as exceptional in that it ‘seems to have let women through at the very top — at the business end — in a way that… no other industry in the country can equal’ (The Guardian, 1988). However, although women comprise the majority of publishing employees and are the major purchasers of both new and secondhand books1 (Book Marketing, 1995), they continue to be under-represented in senior positions within publishing. Gendered patterns of vertical and horizontal segregation persist within the book publishing industry as in other ‘feminised’ sectors (Acker, 1989; Tomlinson and Colgan, 1989; Crompton and Sanderson, 1992). Indirect exclusionary practices can be identified within publishing as within other white-collar and professional sectors (Crompton and Le Feuvre, 1992; Walsh and Cassell, 1995; Witz, 1992). Thus our research has shown that women are more likely to be steered into ‘jobs’ with limited prospects than the ‘careers’ which can lead to positions of power within publishing companies (Colgan and Tomlinson, 1991).
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