2017 VIDA Count numbers released

If you're a fan of the literary arts, or if you're a writer, you should be paying close attention to the VIDA Count. Every year, the nonprofit feminist organization VIDA "highlights gender imbalances in publishing by tallying genre, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines to offer an accurate assessment of the publishing world."

This year's VIDA count examines the contributor demographics of outlets including Harper's, Granta, The Paris Review, and many more. They've presented a number of graphs showing representation of gender, race, identity, and disability arranged by outlet. This year, the The New York Review of Books and The Believer both performed abysmally in terms of gender representation. NYRB has "the most pronounced gender disparity of 2017’s VIDA Count, with only 23.3% of published writers who are women" and...

...The Believer performed with the most disappointing figures, publishing a scant 33% women, and no nonbinary individuals. No books authored by women or nonbinary writers were reviewed. 71% of writers given the mic to conduct an interview were men, and 57% of those who were interviewed were also men. It should be noted that in 2015, every single author of a book reviewed, as well as every single reviewer at The Believer were men, as well.

The point of the VIDA Count is not to shame specific outlets, but to let them know that someone is watching, and counting, and keeping track of representation. Often, just knowing that someone is paying attention to numbers like this can be enough to change the choices that a publication makes.