Women Invisible in Religion Realm

Article excerpt


Fifty percent of the evangelical Christian world is hidden. They're known as women.Not long ago, I was paging through a list of top 40 nonfiction authors in World magazine, an evangelical weekly. Thirty-eight of the authors were men; two were women.

I e-mailed an editor, asking about the gender imbalance. He said an upcoming list of fiction authors would include more female names.

What about female authors who write nonfiction, I asked. He took a look at the unsolicited books in his office. Of the 33 sent over the transom, only three were written by women.

I doubt the ratio of evangelical male to female writers is 10 to 1. What I suspect is that these women's publishers are less apt to push their books.

Maybe women have gained equal rights in the secular world, but in the arena of religion, it's another era. When HarperOne recently published its Life With God Bible, the four scholars mentioned on the cover were men - Richard J. Foster, Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggemann and Eugene Peterson.

Two female editors listed inside with Mr. Willard - Lynda Graybeal and Gayle Beebe - were not cited. Why was his name highlighted and theirs not?

Not long ago, Amazon sent me its list of the top eight best-selling religion authors: William Paul Young, Stephen Kendrick, Kevin Roose, Robert Wright, Timothy Keller, Andy Andrews, Bart Ehrman and Richard Stearns. Who's missing here?

I searched the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association winners for 2008. Women won in fiction/children's and inspirational/gift categories; men won in Christian life and Bible reference.

The results were more lopsided for 2009. Men won in Bible reference and study, children and youth, Christian life and inspiration, and gift categories. Women won in - no surprise - fiction. …