In a discussion this morning on a message board I frequent, posters are speculating on why fewer women than men win Writers of the Future. (In the upcoming anthology, only one woman is featured.) One poster, a writer whom I happen to admire and has previously been well-spoken online, suggested the lack of female writers in the anthologies stems from their tendency to write paranormal romance, which is a category the primary judge frowns on.
For the record, I am a woman. I enjoy reading the occasional paranormal romance but I don't write it. Ever. I'll go a step farther and point out that in two-plus years of critiquing WotF entries from both men and women, I have yet to see even one paranormal romance story in the pile from either sex. The female writers I know write an eclectic mix of science fiction (hard and soft) and fantasy (of all kinds).
This is an edited version of a post from earlier today. That earlier post was angry and ranting. I decided later that wasn't the tone I wanted to take. My main beef with making a sexist remark like "most female writers write paranormal romance" is that it's an assumption. Any assumption a person can make is most likely wrong. A saying I learned awhile back: "assume" makes an "ass" out of you and me.
All that said, I have no clue why fewer female writers win Writers of the Future. The judging is blind. So either we're simply not writing the stories that the judges deem are the best, or there are proportionally fewer of us entering the contest. In any case, I intend to become one of the women who breaks the trend.