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Women's Representation At Big Publications Is Actually Dropping

Female authors are even less likely to get their books reviewed at The New York Times Book Review and other highbrow outlets than they were in 2010.

Posted on March 4, 2013, at 12:46 p.m. ET

The organization VIDA has been quantifying the gender gap at highbrow publications like The New Yorker and Harper's for three years now, and their byline counts have gotten mainstream attention. But apparently that hasn't translated into action at some of the country's most respected magazines, where the numbers of female authors reviewed — and female book reviewers published — still trail far below 50%. According to charts released Monday by VIDA, women's representation at several publications has actually declined since the organization started counting in 2010.

VIDA / Via vidaweb.org
VIDA / Via vidaweb.org
VIDA / Via vidaweb.org

The New Yorker's Briefly Noted section consists of short book reviews — and men are still much more likely than women to make it in.

VIDA / Via vidaweb.org

VIDA's Amy King notes that a few publications are doing better; the literary magazine Tin House, for instance, has instituted its own counts, and its gender breakdown has improved accordingly. She also calls for readers to vote for gender equality with their wallets: "We can now make informed decisions when we reach into our pockets to buy publications. Publishers can ignore the numbers, and we can choose not to buy their publications."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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