The VIDA Count 2013 | VIDA

The VIDA Count 2013 | VIDA.


The break down of nearly 40 literary magazines and reviews–the big names that dominate publishing and the literary world–showing the amount of women featured versus the number of men featured. Here’s the opening of the article linked above:

A couple of giants in the original VIDA Count have begun to move. While we can’t call it a trend or cause for partying just yet, it is certainly noteworthy that The Paris Review’s andNew York Times Book Review’s pies have significantly baked up tastier for 2013.

The Paris Review’s numbers, previously among the worst in our VIDA Count, have metamorphosed from deep, male-dominated lopsidedness into a picture more closely resembling gender parity. While such progress is remarkable in one year, we are likewise pleased to note that we haven’t heard anyone bemoan a drop in quality in The Paris Review’s pages. Turnarounds like the Paris Review’s make it clear that with the right editorial effort, putting more sustainable gender practices into action isn’t too difficult for these magazines at the top of the major market heap. Pamela Paul, editor of theNew York Times Book Review, also demonstrates what good can come when top tier literary outlets recognize the importance of presenting a balanced mix of voices by significantly increasing the number of female reviewers in the NYTBR in 2013.


I’ve been tracking Gently Read Literature’s count in a move to show solidarity with the VIDA project. In 2011, GRL published 115 reviews, the percentage of women reviewers we 46%, and the percentage of women reviews was 51%. It wasn’t bad but I wanted to do better. 2012 turned out to only be slightly better–112 reviews, 63% women reviews and 50% women reviewed.

Over 2013 it looks as though things have regressed a bit. Gently Read Literature published 67 reviews, of those reviews 56% were from women reviewers and 58% were women reviewed.

From what I’ve seen of the literary landscape since 2003 when I finished my MFA, women writers and critics are more erudite, relevant, transgressive, adept, and pleasurable to read than men writers. I wish GRL’s count was more 60/40 in favor of women critics and writers. It comes down to me, as the male editor of the magazine, to work harder and more conscientiously.

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