2012 VIDA count: Hey Ladies, how about that slice of blueberry pie?
Yesterday, VIDA released the results of their 2012 count, showing once again that men and women, while created equal, are not published with equal frequency. Most of the pie charts — for book reviewers, authors reviewed, bylines and numbers overall — are overwhelmed with red, the color representing men’s share of the pie. Except for a few frontrunners, work by women represents a modest blue slice.
The question for editors at literary magazines becomes: where’s our blueberry pie?
“Improvements will happen with effort, not accidentally or by ignoring the glaring disparities. Astute editors and reviewers at major and small press publications are finally acknowledging the weight and responsibilities of their career-shaping roles,” Amy King of VIDA said in a press release.
Numbers from the Boston Review, Poetry Magazine, and Tin House reflected that women are actually half of the population — and at their magazines, half of the pie.
But now for the bad news, i.e. everyone else:
The New York Review of Books, New Republic, Harpers, The Paris Review: women get but a sliver.
Times Literary Supplement, The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Yorker, London Review of Books: women get quarter of the pie.
New York Times Book Review, Threepenny Review, Granta: a third! A whole third of pie because they think women are special!
Amy King asked Tin House editor Rob Spillman what editors at other magazines should watch out for. “Passivity,” Spillman said. “It is all too easy to sit back and wait for what comes in. If you don’t actively seek change, then stasis sets in and the status quo remains.”
While I do not edit The New Yorker (yet), I make choices where I can: am I reviewing books by an equal number of male and female authors? Am I interviewing women as often as I interview men? Or on the other side of the spectrum, can I get at least one dude to read at my reading series each month?
My hope is that we consider the 2012 Count a call to action — for more of that blueberry pie.