My short answer:
Yes, of course.
My long answer:
In 1949, when French existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex–zero women took any top writing prize. It wasn’t until 1991 that the first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to a woman. Take a look at some interesting historical statistics below:
Nobel Prize for Literature: 1949-2010: 60 men, 4 women
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1948-2009: 40 Men, 16 Women
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1950-2009: 44 Men, 16 Women
U.S. Poet Laureate 1937-2009: 36 Men, 10 Women
Today, more books by women are published than ever before. And some women are kicking butt. Jennifer Egan–for example, took the number 1 spot in Publishers Weekly’s “TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2010″ with her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad . This year, Publishers Weekly included equal numbers of men and women on their list: 5 women/ 5 men. The numbers weren’t so pretty last year, when zero women made the list.
Check out these startling gender distribution statistics* for book awards, not for 1949, but 2009:
Amazon- Top 100 Editor’s Picks 2009: 77 Men / 23 Women
Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2009: Innovator’s Award- 1 Man, Robert Kirsch Award- 1 Man
LA Times Favorite Fiction 2009: 16 Men / 9 Women
LA Times Favorite Nonfiction 2009: 19 Men / 6 Women
The National Book Awards 2009: Fiction- 1 Man, Nonfiction- 1 Man, Poetry- 1 Man
Young People’s Literature: 1 Man
Washington Post Best Books of 2009: Nonfiction-69 Men, 17 Women, Fiction: 57 Men, 27 Women
Slate- Best Reads of 2009: 15 Men, 7 Women
There are also more working-women scientists, architects, historians, choreographers, economists, mathematicians, composers and movie producers than ever before, but men also receive more recognition, by far–than women do, in all these creative fields. Again, the numbers say plenty. Take a look at a couple of even starker statistics:
Nobel Prize in Economics 1901-2009: 108 men / 1 woman
Pulitzer Prize for History 1917-2010: 85 men/ 7 women
What Simone de Beauvoir said in 1949 still rings true today:
This has always been a man’s world, and none of the reasons that have been offered in explanation have seemed adequate.
What is the cost of such lopsidedness?
If the full creative potential of half of humanity is yet to be realized, then we are still operating as a hollow culture and much progress is yet to be achieved.
* Thanks to Amy King of the VIDA: Women In Literary Arts website for the statistical data.