Yesterday was a great day — capped off by a terrific celebratory dinner with friends in the evening.1
By 8:00 am Karen and I had hung my poster outside the breakfast area–a terrific place for the posters as conference attendees could stop by while they were eating their breakfast. I spent most of my time during breakfast and during the prescribed poster session time, explaining the research (gender balance of peer-reviewed genealogical journals) and describing the three research questions, the findings and the conclusions. Many viewers commented on methodology or asked questions about what was included–or not. As someone made a comment or gave me an idea, I filled out a post-it and placed it on the poster itself. I now have a record of these comments which might become ideas for future research.
Tom Jones, editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) and one of the studied periodicals, stopped by early in the day. He raised questions about how I arrived at the percent of qualified authors and the selection of the peer-reviewed journals. The question most often asked by the later attendees was whether women were submitting but not being selected — data not available nor sought by me. When I asked Tom, he believed that the women were not submitting articles for publication that reflected their population in the pool of qualifier authors but this had not been quantified. In other discussions, the concept was raised that the primary form of articles in the peer reviewed journals (family lineages and proof arguments), might be a deterrent to female authorship. (When I tested that concept with the women at the dinner, they agreed.)
Harold Henderson also stopped by early to discuss his thoughts in support of the findings. (I want to thank him for his advice on how to handle a possible, but resolved, ethical issue related to publication. Thanks, Howard.)
Some other thoughts from those who stopped by:
- The pool of qualified authors might be improved by including the American Society of Genealogists (ASG, the top 50 genealogists in the country) and International Commission for the Certification of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen.) Our quick and very unofficial count of the ASG showed that 25% are female and 75% male. Author’s note: the numbers of this group are so small it won’t affect the 65% used for female pool of authors where n=>2300. ICAPGen however, could significantly change the percentages as they are a large group of accredited genealogists. (Quick check: of 20 newly named or renewing ICAPGen genealogists: 3 of 20 were male or 85% female and 15% male.)
- Additional time frames of study might be good to view trends.
- The inclusion of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record would complete the genealogical peer-reviewed journals studied. (The Genealogist was suggested but they didn’t begin publishing until the 1980s. Pennsylvania’s journal was also suggested but there seems to be some current publication difficulties.)
- Gender balance hasn’t been studied before and is overdue.
- At one time the genealogy community considered founding a new journal focused on scientific inquiry in methodologies but for a variety of reasons did not get launched. A suggestion was made that it could “go digital” as an online journal only.
- “I don’t think I want to read this. It will only make me mad.” stated a well known female genealogist.
Attendees were still discussing the findings over dinner. We wondered if women might write more family histories. Debra checked the gender balance of the winners of the Family History Writing Contest sponsored by NGSQ (gotta love the Google!). For the 6 years that she could find the winners–33% were female and 67% were male — thus, the hypothesis did not survive the test.
Another dinner companion shared a conversation she had had with two men– they viewed it as a goal to be published in the NGSQ and they subsequently have been. She never even thought to have that as a goal. Another saw herself as more of a verbal communicator and had no desire to write much except for her own work. Women also do not have the license to ignore household tasks and the needs of children.
In spite of the many thresholds over which women must surmount to submit to journals, all felt the need to encourage women to write and to submit.
During the day I attended presentations on using Scrivener for genealogy, “5 Ways to Improve Your Writing,” and Billie Fogarty’s presentation on giving better presentations. I corralled 3+ people to review my lecture list and give me feedback on my responses to Call for Proposals. I attended the ProGen Reunion and the attendee dessert at the end of the event. Had a great time!
What I have done since the last posting: See above.
1 Clockwise from the lower left: Pat, Jill, Amy, Victoria, Debra, Cecily, Angela. (Note to self: Ask Judy if I need to get waiter’s permission to use this photo. 🙂 I got permission from Debra as it was her phone/camera but who really has the rights to the photo? Inquiring minds want to know.)