Last month, my name showed up on the cover of The Futurist magazine. I didn’t think much about it at the time. They asked me for a brief essay, the request was interesting, and so I wrote about an issue that has been bothering me for a while: that we are no longer inching toward being stewards and gardeners of the ecosystem, but rather we’re forcing that role on ourselves. Glen Hiemstra – my futurist mentor – complimented me on having my name listed (with a number of others) on the cover. I still didn’t think much about it. It’s not like it’s my first cover appearance.
But maybe it is even more important than my science fiction stories.
Women are under-represented in science fiction and as futurists.
We are being published in SF, but there are still way more men, particularly on the bestseller lists. But women do have strong anchor models in the science fiction world. Margaret Atwood. CJ Cherryh. Nancy Kress. We have our up and coming writers like E. Lily Yu, who just won the Campbell recognizing the best new writer in the field.
In the futurist world, there aren’t many anchor role models. The most successful futurists that come to mind are almost all male. Alvin Toffler. Jules Verne. Ray Kurzweil. Michio Kaku. Rachel Carson, the author of the 1960’s game-changing book Silent Spring, may be the most influential female futurist. There is one woman on Jack Uldritch’s list of top ten global futurists. My informal search on YouTube and internet browsers turned up a few more. Melissa Sterry. Anne Lise Kjaer.
I’m not suggesting that I will become a top female futurist. I don’t do this full time, at least not right now. But adding my name to respected women in this field may be even more important than being respected in science fiction. I truly believe that discussing our future, exploring the possibilities, and then trying to create the best ones is critical. It is also terribly important that these discussions include women.
I’m looking forward to the day when half of the names of the cover of The Futurist are women (There were about forty contributors to 22nd Century at First Light, the excellent group article my essay appeared in; five were women).