Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

UK survey finds that older women feel misrepresented in fiction

In the UK, a survey of more than 1000 women over 40 has found that 51% of respondents feel that older women tend to fall into stereotyped roles in fiction, reports the Bookseller.

The survey, conducted by HarperCollins imprint HQ in conjunction with Gransnet, a social media platform for older people, found that women over the age of 45 buy more fiction than any other age bracket. While 84% of survey respondents said they read every, or almost every day, 47% said that there are not enough books about middle-aged or older women. When older characters do appear in fiction, half of the women surveyed said they have seen them being portrayed as ‘baffled by smartphones, computers or the internet’.

Despite 46% of respondents saying that the portrayal of older women in fiction is better than in films and on television, 41% said they would like to see more working older women in novels, and 56% reported that they would like to see women their age portrayed as ‘more active’.

Gransnet editor Cari Rosen said: ‘Gransnet users have long been frustrated with the perception that you are essentially past it the minute you hit 40. We know from our forums that many women remain active, busy and vital into their 70s and beyond, and it’s essential to see that reflected in the books that we read.’

In response to the survey, HQ and Gransnet have launched a fiction writing competition for women writers over the age of 40, for stories featuring a leading character aged over 40.

HQ executive publisher Lisa Milton said: ‘We publish many books by women over 40. Many of our books have female characters over 40. Many who also defy stereotype. But not enough. We know that women over 50 are the fastest-growing group of workers in the UK, and it’s important that we publish to reflect the world around us.’

For more information on the survey and its results, visit Gransnet.


Category: International news