Women in Literary Arts

| March 6, 2012

VIDA, Women in Literary Arts, an organization that promotes and advocates for women writers, released their annual “Count” this past week. To create the Count, VIDA members scanned the bylines of a handful of top literary magazines and counted the women’s verses men’s bylines to make visual what so many of us have known, intuitively, for a long time now: that all of the literary magazines publish far more male writers than female.

I post this here because it strikes me as an important figure for educators to be aware of.  I know this is a conversation already in progress among educators, but these figures remind me to say it again: how much consideration do educators give to gender equity in creating their syllabi for class? How can educators, who are in the position of shaping young minds in the classroom, empower their students to find their own individual voices against a gendered bias across the publishing industry (i.e. who has voice in the literary world)?  This bias, of course, extends beyond gender into other identity categories as well–race, ethnicity, etc–which also seems a worthy extension of this conversation.

The Columbia Journalism Review wrote a thoughtful article about the VIDA count, HERE.

As the CJR notes, the VIDA figures are shocking, and here they are:

VIDA: http://www.vidaweb.org/
The Count, specifically: http://www.vidaweb.org/the-count