The 2014 VIDA Count is out, and the larger picture is mixed as usual.
Women writers continue to lag behind their male counterparts as both literary reviewers and reviewees, and nearly all the publications studied, save for a few exceptions, print more male than female bylines in the relevant sections.
The 2014 Count singles out Harper’s and The New Republic for increasing the number of female voices within their pages. “Female Book Reviewers [in Harper’s] grew by 11 percentage points, from 29 percent to 40 percent of the total reviewers, and female-penned bylines increased by 10 percentage points,” notes the study. For its part, The New Republic — which had a great deal of ground to cover in terms of gender progress — leaped toward parity. “Their 2013 female Book Reviewers’ sad 7 percent has made strides in 2014 to 29 percent. That’s an increase of 22 percentage points,” comments the VIDA team.
McSweeny’s, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review are also inching toward equality as well. Poetry, Granta, and Boston Review, meanwhile, have maintained fantastic numbers throughout the last five years.
Now for the bad news. The Paris Review slid by 11 percentage points last year, a decrease from 51 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2014, while neither The Times Literary Supplement nor The Nation have managed to crack the 30-percent mark female during the last four years.
The VIDA team also attempted to tally the women of color within the larger count this year, but their data collection is thus far incomplete.
Now in its sixth year, the VIDA Count tallies up the authors who write for and are written about in “thirty-nine literary journals and well-respected periodicals, counting genre, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines to offer an accurate assessment of the publishing world.”
See the gender breakdowns of all the publications studied at the 2014 VIDA Count’s website.