The Leaky Pipeline wants to know: Where are the women in science fiction? (Via SF Signal). Kathy Kitts' article explores various reasons behind the marginalization of women in science fiction. Here are a few of them:
This pipeline metaphor reflects the female experience in SF as well. The first leak originates in Hollywood. SF has allowed itself to be defined by visual media. Previously, SF attracted all types of readers and writers because of its promise to examine all facets of what it means to be human. However, the blockbuster mentality/economic model has effectively neutered the types of stories SF publishers accept. The topic must appeal to everyone and offend no one.
Subsequently, publishers discourage stories that target women because they won’t appeal to the entire audience. Taking this argument ad absurdum, middle grade boys don’t read; and therefore, Rowling’s Harry Potter books should not be published because there’ll be no market.
The next leak occurs in both formal and informal education. In formal education, the AWP reports few writing programs accept genre writers and women are actively discouraged from writing genre-based fiction. I suspect this stems more from a bias against all genre literature rather than SF. But regardless of the exact cause, writing programs shunt women away from writing speculative fiction.
The other reason I wanted to bring this article to your attention is because it acknowledges that romance is a place where women can find SF stories that speak to them and their interests: