Why is the survey different from previous years?
After we launched the 2015 survey, women of colour approached WILAA to express their concern that the survey was too general to encompass the unique challenges many in their community faced. They wanted to see a survey which reflected the particular challenges or issues women of colour and other marginalised groups face which many white women do not. WILAA acknowledges that this was a flaw of the first survey, and have redesigned the 2016 survey to encourage responses that reflect more intersectional experiences.
We also discovered that answers to the 2015 survey gave us further areas to gather information in, or showed that we needed to further refine some questions.
What do you do with the results of this survey?
Results of the survey are used to compile data on the experiences and commonalities of the reality for women writers in Australia. We felt that having statistics to illustrate a snapshot of how women writers feel would add to the public conversations around gender equity in our industry. All results are collated anonymously and no data regarding individual users is kept.
Why don’t you specifically identify different areas of writing such as romance, sci-fi, young adult etc. in your list of writing activity?
We could attempt to break down our broad categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry etc to a more micro level, and perhaps in coming years we will have the capacity to do so. For now, we want to make the survey a manageable length in hopes of getting the greatest number of responses, and our ability to break down the raw data into reflections from women in niche writing fields is limited by being a team of volunteers.
How do you select the organisations listed as part of your survey?
As we are primarily interested in connecting women with organisations whose core aim is addressing gender discrimination, or which aim to specifically acknowledge the work of women writers, we use this to guide which organisations we list. Unfortunately, this does mean some of the organisations who have large memberships of women, such as the Romance Writers of Australia, are not included. While organisations like this do represent huge numbers of women, they are by their own definition primarily a genre based organisation rather than a gender one.