Sunday, August 19, 2018

#WITMonth Day 19 | I'm tired | Thoughts

This will be an atypical blog post (certainly for WITMonth), or perhaps a blog post more akin with what a personal blog would normally look like.

As the title says, I'm tired.

In a few days, I'll be posting Part 3 of the 2018 WITMonth stats. In this post, I'll be detailing 5-year trends, looking at women in translation statistics from 2013 through 2017. This will be a long post (possibly split into two; we'll see once it's finished), with my attempt at looking at the problem more broadly and not within the limited confines of a single year. In the context of preparing this post, I have also contacted a few key publishers (mostly those that Twitter users predominantly associated with literature in translation, when I posed the question a few weeks ago) to ask for statements about women in translation and these publishers' track records.

But you have to understand something before I post these stats, and it's this: I'm tired. I'm tired of seeing that base 30-31% translation rate for women. I'm tired of having to explain why promoting individual titles does not make up for a global lack. I'm tired of having to explain to publishers that each book they publish is a choice, and that they can, simply, choose to publish men and women in equal amounts (and trans and genderqueer and nonbinary authors as well). I'm tired of having to justify why it's important to publish women writers - and women writers from around the entire world - when it should be obvious.

Most of all, I'm tired of making excuses. And I will be stopping, as of today. I will no longer be excusing away certain publishers that consistently behave in a certain way. I will no longer be excusing away inexcusable gender gaps. I will no longer be accepting nonresponses or justifications; I will be demanding more. I'm tired, and I'm tired of feeling like this incredible project and the community that you have all built isn't doing enough. Because remember this: WITMonth 2014, the first WITMonth, had maybe 10-15 participants. The entirety of it, every. single. post. can be seen in this list. Today, I'm lucky if that's the amount of posts I see in a day. We have grown so, so much and we have done so, so much and we deserve more than this.

I mentioned in this year's first stats post that I felt like the work I do is useless. After all, I've been doing it for years and nothing has changed and the important gatekeepers have simply not budged. But many of you responded very strongly to those lines, messaging me and commenting that the stats were not meaningless, that they were necessary, that they were having real-world consequences that I couldn't yet see. You all have no idea how much hope and comfort those comments and messages gave me, and I am truly grateful to each and every one of you for your participation in WITMonth.

Now it's time for us to act. Enough is enough.

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