VIDA Count for 2012 Shows Gender Bias in the Publishing Industry

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VIDA Count 2012New VIDA Count stats show the extent of systemic gender bias in the publishing world

Have you ever wondered about the breakdown of men vs. women getting published or reviewed in today’s most popular literary magazines and journals?

Well, the numbers are in —and the VIDA Count for 2012 shows that many publications still have a long way to go before they can claim anything close to gender equitability.

Harper’s, New Republic, The Nation, and The New Yorker all had poor showings, while publications like Tin House, the Boston Review, POETRY Magazine, and Granta saw more balanced bylines.

The editors of Tin House and Granta give specifics in this article about how they fostered a more equitable literary space for women.

One detail worth sharing: while Tin House saw a 50/50 split between men and women in unsolicited submission numbers, women were five times less likely to resubmit even when a rejection notice requested that the writer submit more work in the future.

The solution? They stopped asking men to resubmit, because (according to editor Rob Spillman), “they were going to submit anyway.”

So a lesson for both men and women — RESUBMIT!

What are your thoughts on the VIDA numbers? How does gender bias (or outright discrimination) affect your writing life? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Chris Robley
is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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