Recently, Vida, an organization that creates open dialogues about the “critical and cultural preceptions” of women in the literary arts, released their 2011 count of publication rates for female authors in some of the top literacy magazines and book coverage sections in newspapers. These results are less than favorable for women since they show that being a male writer also means a leg up in getting published.
Publications such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, and more have printed overwhelmingly more articles by men than women in the past year. It’s hard to tell whether this is an unintentional fact or whether a gender inequality actually exists when articles or book reviews are considered for publication, but either way, it’s definitely unsettling to think that female writers must face a disadvantage, which has nothing to do with the integrity or creativity of her writing.
Here are some of the results I’ve reposted from Vida’s webpage.
What’s funny for me is that in the course of my internships through publishing houses in NYC (e.g. Random House, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Grove/Atlantic, Inc.), most of the staff working on the publication of a new novel happen to be female. From assistants all the way up to directors, I’ve met so many more women in these positions that it was almost hard to believe that these results favored men.
I often joke with my girlfriends that if they ever want to find a prospective date, a publishing house is not a good place to look. A slight exaggeration on my part for laughs, but I mention it to help illustrate how friendly the publishing industry can be toward women.
Hopefully, the statistics will reflect that in 2012!