Despite progress in leveling the playing field in publishing, women still face discrimination, award-winning Italian poet and novelist Dacia Maraini said in a lecture organized by the Italian Embassy in Korea at Ewha Womans University on Thursday.
“The market might be open to women writers but, when the lists are made of great must-read writers, there are few women writers represented,” Maraini said during her talk with an audience of female students at Ewha’s Asia Center for Women Studies.
“We suffer under the ‘law of 5 percent,’” she said.
The law of 5 percent refers to what Maraini described as women writers being pushed to the extreme periphery of what society considers as acclaimed or great writing. Society has a “male” idea of what is good or even competent writing, and this has been true throughout history, Maraini said.
The 76-year-old Maraini arrived in Korea on Monday on a seven-day visit here as part of trips she routinely makes around the world to promote women’s literature.
Maraini is most famous for “The Age Of Discontent,” which was translated into Korean in 2008. The novel tells the story of a high school-aged girl’s journey for self-awareness in a society that she finds totally alien.
Maraini delivered a speech at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a special talk at Yri Cafe in the trendy university district of Hongik University. She was most recently in Havana, Cuba, and Boston in the United States.