Doing Diversity in Writing

DDW - S3 Ep 02 - Writing Women We Want to Read

May 31, 2022

In this episode of Doing Diversity in Writing, we—Bethany and Mariëlle—talk about writing better female characters. This is the first part of a two-part episode on the topic.


Here’s what we talked about:

  • That, in the US, women are estimated to buy 70–80% of fiction books
  • There are way more male than female leads in children’s books
  • That novels, on average and across the board, only have one female character to four male characters
  • But that many readers FEEL like there are way more female protagonists these days than there are male protagonists 
  • That women writers also have a tendency to write male characters, and that women are not exempt from perpetuating problematic female representations
  • What kind of roles women tend to have in fiction
  • A selection of tropes to avoid or seriously consider when writing female characters
  • Some of the most persistent narrative structures that disempower and/or harm women
  • Why it is important to write female characters better, even if books with badly written women are selling well 

And here are the (re)sources we mentioned on the show:



This week’s episode page can be found here:


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