The Guardian Looks at the Lack of Gender Parity in UK Book Reviewing

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by Melissa Silverstein and Kerensa Cadenas
June 13, 2013 2:50 PM
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Recently, The Guardian took on a pretty huge task.  They assessed how many male and female reviewers as well as the authors were reviewed in the major UK book sections for a month in 2012 and a month in 2013.  They looked at publications ranging from the Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books as well as their own numbers. 

And just like the VIDA numbers in the US, they aren't good.

Overall, 64% of the authors reviewed were men and 71% of the reviewers were men. Women only made 29% of the authors reviewed and 36% of the reviewers. The even sadder thing about these numbers is that the women's numbers are up from 2012--by 2% for authors and 11% for reviewers. 

The Guardian's own numbers were the same, even a little worse. 77% of their authors reviewed were men and 72% of the reviewers. Women comprised 28% of the authors and 23% of the reviewers. The women reviewers number is up 9% from 2012, but their author numbers were down by 1%. 

Check out the graphic with a breakdown of the numbers by publication below. Alex Clark wrote a wonderful piece discussing the numbers here's the end: (read the whole piece)

It's less than 100 years since women got the vote in the UK. It's just 170 years since the Brontes were writing with men's names. Changing laws is one thing, changing attitudes is quite another. That attitude shift is going to take a lot longer, and will simply not happen if we keep behaving as if equality - true equality, the one that comes with equality of access as well as equality of share – doesn't matter all that much."


Gender balancing the books (The Guardian)

The gender balance of UK literary culture -- graphic (The Guardian)

How we calculated the gender balance of UK literary journalism (The Guardian)

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More: Books/Literary, Statistics, Sexism

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