Originally posted to ReelGirl on February 9th.
The grassroots women’s literary group VIDA just released some frightening statistics about gender bias in publishing.
The New York Review of Books has 462 male bylines to 79 female, about a 6-to-1 ratio.
The New Republic has 32 women to 160 men.
The Atlantic published 154 male bylines and 55 female.
The New Yorker reviewed 36 books by men and 9 by women.
Harper’s reviewed more than twice as many books by men as by women.
The New York Times Book Review had 1.5 men to 1 woman (438 compared to 295) and an authors-reviewed ratio of 1.9 to 1 (524 compared to 283).
VIDA’s report has ignited the blogosphere with many commentators wondering, as Patricia Cohen does in the New York Times: Why? “What the numbers don’t explain is whether men write more books (and book proposals) than women or whether they more frequently and aggressively ask magazine editors for assignments.”
But this isn’t an either/ or situation; women face challenges at both ends: publishers and editors are biased to think that men’s stories are the best and most important ones, deserving of publication and reviews; and, women writers, socialized to those same beliefs, agree and don’t try hard or often enough to get published.
This double-challenge doesn’t only affect women writers; it muzzles women’s voices across all media.
Originally from Feministing.com’s January 3rd “What We Missed”
“One New Yorker subscriber is demanding her money back after a recent edition of the magazine only included two bylines by women, out of 76 pages of content. She plans to return every edition of the magazine that contains fewer than 5 female writers.”