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Vida count 2017: male writers still dominate

In the US, Vida, the non-profit organisation for women in literary arts, has found that female writers accounted for less than 40% of articles and reviews at more than half of major publications, reports the Guardian.

The majority of publications surveyed in the main count—eight out of 15—published less than 40% women in 2017, with the New York Review of Books showing the most pronounced gender disparity, with only 23.3% of its published writers being women. Meanwhile, five outlets had women representing between 40% and 49.9% of their total publication, and only two of the 15 publications analysed in the main count published 50% or more female writers.

The publication with the most improvement in its percentage of published women writers was the Paris Review, which published 42.7% women in 2017, compared to 35% women in 2016. This is despite editor Lorin Stein departing the magazine in December following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Vida also found that smaller literary magazines (surveyed as part of the Larger Literary Landscape count) were ‘far more equitable’ than larger publications, with 15 out of 24 publishing as many or more female writers as men. In this section of the count, the Believer had the lowest representation of female critics and reviews, publishing just 33% women in 2017 with no books written by women reviewed at all.

‘The numbers may not radically change year to year, they may reach parity for some publications one year and fall back the next, but we can see the impact of our work beyond Vida’s numbers,’ wrote Vida board members Amy King and Sarah Clark, adding a warning that ‘when primarily white male voices are heard, it creates a dangerous lens through which the world is viewed’.

To see this year’s count and analysis, click here.



Category: International news