VIDA count charts

Latest VIDA count of gender gap in the literary world counts women of color

Harper's VIDA countThe fifth annual VIDA Count measuring the gender gap in the literary world is out.

This year, for the first time, an effort was made to break down the numbers by race. While they weren’t able to get a complete tally, WAM!’s Jamia Wilson notes, “This year’s attempt at counting women of color paves the way for a deeper public conversation about who has power and privilege at all levels of the literary landscape—and how that impacts whose voices are heard.”

While the overall numbers look similar to previous year’s, there’s been some small steps toward gender equality. A few publications that had vowed to make a deliberate effort to close their gaps after last year’s count, including Harper’s and The New Republic, followed through. Meanwhile, the The Paris Review backslide after some good progress last year, and The Times Literary Supplement and The Nation continued to be as consistently awful as they’ve been for years — with women making up less than a third of their pies.

Tin House VIDA Count

Rob Spillman, the editor of Tin House, where women have gotten a majority of the pie for a few years now, explained how to pull off such a feat: “It’s not actually that hard, you just have to pay attention. There really no excuses for not doing due diligence. There’s no point in throwing your hands up and saying you believe in gender equality, you actually have to go out and look for it.”

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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