Women have been playing a key role in the recent Polish protests. Irma Allen relates their stories and reports that, despite intimidation and social pressure, this time they won’t be silenced.
The latest issue of Spilne is on gender and labour. Two thirds of the authors are women, largely because of the preponderance of female scholars in gender studies. The journal’s website, which includes a section devoted to material on feminism, allows a more informal approach to gender issues.
Gender and cultural journals
Eurozine partner journals are not unique in being dominated by male editors and contributors. But what’s the bigger picture regarding gender and cultural journals? Do journals have the resources to deal with it? And what role does gender play, if any, where commissioning patterns and content are concerned?
Eurozine asked selected partner journals to respond to a European survey on gender and cultural journals that examines these issues in greater depth.
Syn og Segn, Norway
ResPublica Nova, Poland
Gender representation in the organizations essential to journal publication
At Spilne, almost all the essential work is done by volunteers. In 2012, only those responsible for layout and proof-reading (two women) received fees. In 2013, three more paid positions were introduced: website editor (currently female), website administrator (currently female) and editor-in-chief of the journal (currently male).
There is a continuous rotation of editors. The person responsible for the content of an issue is the one most interested in that issue’s theme and willing to take responsibility for it. Of the last three editors, one was male. The editorial board consists of 12 males and nine females. We do not have any special policy on gender issues except that gender (or any other) discrimination is not tolerated. The only criteria for choosing editors, authors or translators are their willingness to cooperate, quality of work and acceptance of our principles. Gender quotas are not applied.
Male authors tend to predominate but in our 2013 issue this tendency was reversed due to the theme of gender and labour (women are better represented in gender studies).
There is no clear division between technical and creative work. The same people who write for the journal on a regular basis make decisions, translate texts, edit them and so on. Men are not overrepresented in the decision-making process. This situation is stable and not expected to change.
Spilne does not have owners, it’s a non-commercial project. Some of our public funders had requirements for equal gender representation and Spilne satisfied their criteria.
Gender and content
Every issue is devoted to a specific topic. The latest issue was dedicated to a socialist analysis of gender problems. More than two thirds of authors were women (as they are generally much better represented in gender studies than men). Gender issues were covered within the context of class exploitation, the labour market and the connection between gender inequality and capitalism.
Many editors and authors try to be language sensitive as regards gender when working on texts.
The category labelled “feminism” on the journal’s website contains all the material that touches upon women and LGBT issues. Naturally, as a leftist journal, Spilne focuses on topics concerning labour and economic discrimination, but the feminist material also deals with women and LGBT issues on the level of ideology, where this kind of discrimination is critically analysed in the wider social context. The topics of the feminist category on the website and the content of the print edition of the special issue on gender overlap to a great extent, though the website allows for some more descriptive, narrative or subjective articles, especially those in the “blogs” category. The journal, on the other hand, contains more theoretical and analytic pieces.
We do not see any need for a gender quota. The most important reason being, that we do not have to deal with a traditional gender division of labour in our team (our IT specialist is a woman, and men do much of proofreading work for the website). The journal is non-commercial, so we accept anyone willing to contribute regardless of gender and cannot offer many incentives to women if they are not interested in participating.
Published 14 November 2013
Original in English
First published by Eurozine
Contributed by Spilne © Iryna Kohut / Roksolana Mashkova / Spilne / EurozinePDF/PRINT
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