The New York Times’ Julie Bosman reports on VIDA’s annual survey of book reviews appearing in leading publications. VIDA: Women in Literary Arts reports that these reviews are overwhelmingly written by men. Ms. Bosman reports that Ruth Franklin at the New Republic did her own survey after the first VIDA report (2010) to discover that most publications reviewed are written by men. Ms. Franklin noted that one interesting question that we could ask is why women’s writing is published at a significantly lower rate. Is it because women submit their work less often? Or is something else going on? It’s a provocative issue.
Consider the underrepresentation of women in other fields. At the conclusion of a three-year study, the New York State Council on the Arts Report (2002) found significant underrepresentation of females as playwrights and directors, even though all of the individuals (men and women) studied began with the same qualifications. In 2001/2002, American Theatre magazine, a leading industry publication, listed women as 17 percent of the playwrights and 16 percent of the directors (about equal to the listings in 1994/1995). Are women closer to equality today? It doesn’t seem so. In 2008, they represented 12.8 percent of the playwrights represented on Broadway, according to this Guardian article. Some more information about on and off Broadway playwright/director gender inequality here.