The 2016 VIDA Count shows some gains toward gender equity in the mainstream publishing industry. The literary magazine Granta published more women than men in six years, while the New York Times Book review had equal percentage of female and male reviewers. The report noted that the London Review of Books has the worst gender disparity.
The annual VIDA Count began in 2010 to advocate for change in the publishing industry and help create a community of writers and their supporters. Volunteers from across the country manually tally the gender disparity in major literary publications and book reviews. In an effort to evaluate the big picture in publishing, the project breaks down 39 major literary journals and periodicals and count genre, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines.
“VIDA will continue to shine a light, exposing publishers’ biased publication rates so that discrimination might be more than just a feeling, so that writers, educators, and consumers might hold those publishers accountable for their omissions,” wrote Amy King, editor-in-chief, and Sarah Clark, assistant editor, respectively, of VIDA Review. "The ‘body politic’ is exactly that: a body. If only part of the body is attended to, the rest of it will suffer, and society as a whole will be bankrupt.”
2016 VIDA Count
Here are some of the highlights of the 2016 VIDA Count:
- At Tin House, women and nonbinary writers made up 51 percent of overall publication.
- The New York Times Book Review has been making progress toward gender equity in its pages since 2012. In 2016, 50 percent men and 50 percent women have been credited as reviewers; 44 percent of books reviewed were written by women.
- Granta for the first time published more women (38 pieces) than men (37) since the VIDA Count began.
- The New Yorker continues to make small gains every year with women making up 39 percent of bylines.
- The London Review of Books has the worst gender disparity, publishing only 22 percent bylines of women, 18 percent who review books, and 26 percent of books by women reviewed. The situation has remained about the same since 2010.
- At The Nation, twice as many men (67 percent) were published than women (33 percent) and zero nonbinary writers.
- At The Atlantic, only 36 percent of published articles were written by women.
The organization said the annual count helps assure writers and “wayward editors” that biases will not go unnoticed. “We ignite and fan the flames of necessary discourse. Our literary community can only benefit from a range of voices,” the group said in its website.