Wednesday, March 5, 2014

VIDA 2013 Byline Count Released: No Champagne Called For

There is no end of clichés about truth-telling, i.e.,  "Numbers don't lie" and "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts."  The latter one is from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and while I wish he had made his comment gender-neutral, I can't complain about its essential truth.

So the numbers and the facts about women's bylines compiled annually by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts tell us, once again, that "women’s writing continues to be disproportionately omitted from the pages of career-making journals," according to Amy King, a Nassau (NY) Community College faculty member who wrote this year's VIDA byline report.  While the facts that show women are underutilized as journalists, literary authors, and literary reviewers may be resisted by editors who are blocking their way, the facts are the facts.

The 2013 VIDA count shows marked improvement at The Paris Review and The New York Times Book Review -- truly bright spots in the literary pantheon, along with small press publishers. But there's little movement elsewhere.  The New Republic had its worst performance ever in the 2013 VIDA count.

The facts will continue to be collected and the numbers compiled. "In a country where many major newspapers and journals are owned by the few, where great swaths of 51% of the population are excluded by historical practices that continue to be handed down and enacted by heads of magazines, VIDA hopes to upset traditions that leave women writers out of editors’ Rolodexes and off publishers’ forthcoming lists," King writes.  She encourages consumer pushback -- letters to editors with praise for being inclusive and criticism for not, and subscription cancellations of periodicals that consistently show little interest in publishing women -- with an explanation of the reader's exit.

Read the full report and see pie charts of individual publications' 2013 performance here.

No comments:

Post a Comment