VIDA Count: Slow Movement toward Gender Parity in Literary Magazines

The latest VIDA Count reveals a slow movement toward gender parity in literary magazines, with only two of the 15 major publications evaluated showing 50 percent or more women writers.

Granta (53.5 percent) and Poetry (50 percent) earned the top marks in last year’s Vida Count. “This matches the number of publications from 2016 that published 50 percent or more women writers, with Granta making the grade for a second year (50 percent in 2016), now joined by Poetry, while last year’s parity at Tin House (50.6 percent in 2016) has fallen just below our benchmark,” according to the 2017 VIDA Count report.

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. The 2017 main VIDA Count analyzed how many women and gender minorities are represented in 15 major literary publications. 

According to the 2017 report, five of the 15 publications had women representing between 40 percent and 49.9 percent of their total publication: 

·         Harper’s, 42.1 percent

·         The New York Times Book Review, 45.9 percent

·         The New Republic, 42.2 percent

·         The Paris Review, 42.7 percent

·         Tin House, 49.7 percent

Of these publications, The Paris Review demonstrated the most improvement in percentage of published women writers, rising from 35 percent in 2016 to 42.7 percent in 2017. “The New York Review of Books had the most pronounced gender disparity of 2017’s VIDA Count, with only 23.3 percent of published writers who are women,” said the report.

The nonprofit group, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, is “committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape and to amplifying historically marginalized voices, including people of color, writers with disabilities, and queer, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals.”

Photo credit: K. Sawyer Photography on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

Learn more about the 2017 Vida Count.

Read a related story:

2016 VIDA Count Shows Small Gains toward Gender Equity in Publishing