Annual count of women’s bylines shows little progress

VIDA Women in Literary Arts

At this point, the publications with the ‘most men’ simply do not win,” Amy King writes in a post introducing VIDA’s annual count of women’s bylines.

While it would be incredibly easy to begin by lambasting national publications like Harpers, The Paris Review, The New Republic, New York Review Of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic and The Nation for their gross (& indecent) neglect of female writers’ work, I fear the attention we’ve already given them has either motivated their editors to disdain the mirrors we’ve held up to further neglect or encouraged them to actively turn those mirrors into funhouse parodies at costs to women writers as yet untallied. Reason hasn’t worked.

The “overall” figure includes the gender of: book reviewers, authors of books reviewed, and bylined writers.


Gender disparity is not the only issue at The New York Times Book Review. Previous analysis has explored why 88% of books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white authors.

Additional VIDA findings:

Publishers and editors “can choose to listen or ignore thinking through biased-publishing practices, but what is of more import is that we can let them know that readers and writers are listening too,” King writes. “We can now make informed decisions when we reach into our pockets to buy publications. Publishers can ignore the numbers, and we can choose not to buy their publications.”

Related: Report: New media no better than old media when it comes to women’s bylines | ‘Said to Lady Journos’ Tumblr is ‘depressingly relatable,’ female journalists say | Study: Most campaign coverage written by men

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  • sammybaker

    Perhaps the saddest aspect of this sorry state of affairs is that women do not expect better of the males. I occasionally read some of these titles online but no longer subscribe to them.