2012 VIDA Byline Gender Parity Count Is Out and Depressing As Ever


VIDA, an organization that “seeks to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women through meaningful conversation and the exchange of ideas among existing and emerging literary communities,” has just released its annual, soul-crushing tally of how male to female reviewers and male to female-written books stack up at major literary publications. It’s not good.

From Amy King’s overview:

While it would be incredibly easy to begin by lambasting national publications like Harpers, The Paris Review, The New Republic, New York Review Of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic and The Nation for their gross (& indecent) neglect of female writers’ work, I fear the attention we’ve already given them has either motivated their editors to disdain the mirrors we’ve held up to further neglect or encouraged them to actively turn those mirrors into funhouse parodies at costs to women writers as yet untallied. Reason hasn’t worked.

Some publications have “held steady or made calculable strides towards shaping a more egalitarian literary landscape via gender,” including The Boston Review and Threepenny, and the Harvard Review, Drunken Boat and Tin House have all started counting their authors each year. But they’re in the minority of pubs that are actually paying attention. “Improvements will happen with effort, not accidentally or by ignoring the glaring disparities,” King writes. “As our frustration over the worsening numbers carries on, we might think we have little to no ability to help them along. But we do.”


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin