I just read this article on the BBC news website, and found it rather interesting (of course I would, I'm a woman, and therefore obviously hard-wired to find anything about equality for my sex interesting - it can't be just because it's about equality, and the fact that, as a moral and principled person, I support such a concept. Oh no no).
I also found the comments interesting, particularly those made by "Graphis" and comment 6. I disagree with Graphis' stance, but the objection he makes is certainly one worth dealing with - it's not so 'paper-thin' as to be dismissible without answer, after all, it's a fairly common objection to any act of positive discrimination. People complain about there being grants reserved that are only available for black people, but ignore the fact that these grants exist because every single day of their lives, white people still benefit from the colour of their skin.
The article makes it pretty obvious at the start that the discrimination Graphis' denies still does happen in literature because the male voice is perceived as neutral and the female voice as female (note that this is an opinion the male authors agreed with too, so it's not just women trying to find an excuse for not being as good). And it's true. In the literary world, male writers benefit every day simply by dint of gender. It applies not just to the author's gender, but also to their protagonist's gender. Would Harry Potter have been so successful as Harriet Potter? Probably not. Boys don't want to read about girls, but girls don't mind reading about boys. So when the judges were reading through all the books to draw-up their shortlist it is, unfortunately, still very probable that their reading of a book was shaped rather drastically by whether the author was female or not - because people as a whole generally read a book written by a female in a different way - in a feminine way which makes it unappealing for some (men and women alike). One wonders how many women would be on the shortlist if they'd published their books under pseudonymous male names.