A Women’s Publishing Movement? Why Not??


A Women’s Publishing Movement? Why Not??

“Change requires intent and effort. It really is that simple.” Roxane Gay

(If you find yourself unable to read to the end of this post due to time, please do bookmark and read Ms. Gay’s essay, Beyond The Measure of Men. Do NOT miss her essay.)

The web is buzzing again with the righteous indignation of women about the infuriating discrepancies in publishing of men vs women. We had the American Society of Magazine Editors report and, as Alexander Nazaryan reports, “No, seriously. Many are up in arms about the complete lack of female writers nominated for the major categories of Reporting, Feature Writing, Profile Writing, Essays/Criticism and Columns/Commentary.” No females nominated in any of the major categories, despite some fine writing in those categories. Quite fine. Excellent, in fact. Read Nazaryan’s report and be angry.

Last February, I wrote about the VIDA count and the gender disparity in publishing. This February, another VIDA count, another round of frustrating, but not surprising news. Lyon Review’s managing editor, Sandi Sonnenfeld recently updated us on the new VIDA count. Another year of same song, same story, but most often coming from people with penises. Take a look at this graphic from the count.

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What if book clubs only selected books by women authors? Now there’s an idea.


by Pam Parker, Community Forum Editor

Women write. Women read. Women buy books for book clubs by the thousands and sit together and discuss their choices. But apparently women writers face the same issues in writing as in nearly every other profession open to them: men dominate the field. The web has been swirling with comments about the disparity for months. Last summer when Jonathan Franzen’s FREEDOM received rave reviews, established female authors revolted. Many of them didn’t deny that FREEDOM was a fine book, but wondered why it was so rare for female authors to receive rave reviews. For example, read about Jodi Picoult’s comments.

In February, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts published The Count 2010. And, predictably and appropriately, The Count is being quoted and written about by many other literary publications and blogs. (See the Utne Reader, The New Republic and who knows how many blogs in the blogosphere.) VIDA’s study focused on authors and books reviewed in key literary publications leading to some lovely pie graphs which are reappearing web-wide showing the dreadfully small female slice of the pie. I will show you one of VIDA’s pies here:

Writing in The New Republic, Ruth Franklin’s article, “A Literary Glass Ceiling? Why magazines aren’t reviewing more female writers,” takes an indepth look at VIDA’s numbers and goes one disturbing, albeit important, step further:

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