Male Reviewers Outnumber Female Reviewers at Major Lit Journals

By Jason Boog Comment

VIDA: Women in Literary Arts have released a report entitled “Vida Count 2012” revealing that male writers still outnumbered female writers in a number of major literary publications last year. Follow this link to see a three-year comparison.

This report tracks the statistics of gender balance among writers published at literary magazines around the country. They also looked at authors reviewed, book reviewers, and interviews at certain publications. The book review count included Harper’s (book reviews written by 3 women, 28 men), The New York Review of Books (book reviews written by 215 men, 40 women) and The New York Times Book Review (book reviews written by 327 women, 400 men). Here’s more from the report:

Let’s look at a few venues that have held steady or made calculable strides towards shaping a more egalitarian literary landscape via gender. The Boston Review, with its slightly heavier load of male reviewers, has made a dramatic improvement proportionately of who they review since we began. Threepenny is taking a slow but steady approach with incremental yearly steps up from 29 to 34 to 36.5% women published respectively. Poetry remains the most consistently equitable in its publishing practices, reaching a 45% height of women published in 2012: look to the poets! … We hope their editors will take notice and figure out how to make lasting strides as they proceed with their consideration practices into the rest of 2013. Publishers have also begun to take it upon themselves to publicly account for their own numbers. Places like Harvard Review, Drunken Boat and Tin House are counting their authors each year. We do not think the significant jump in female authors reviewed at Tin House is temporary; they have bared the change in their attention and practices for the public record. Readers and writers, please take note.

Poets Cate Marvin and Erin Belieu founded VIDA “to address the need for female writers of literature to engage in conversations regarding the critical reception of women’s creative writing in our current culture.” A number of authors serve on the board of directors. (via Sarah Weinman)