Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New feature - The New Yorker Parity Report

I'm certainly not the first person to notice the crazy lopsided gender ratios of high-end literary-type magazines like the New Yorker, as this article in Jezebel demonstrates:
The current issue of The Atlantic boasts five-and-a-half pieces by women (Katherine Tiedemann and Peter Bergen share a byline on this story, hence the "half") out of 18 total stories.

The Nation has four-and-a-half pieces by women out of 17 articles in its January issue. (Teachers' union head Randi Weingarten shares a byline with Pedro Noguera.)

The January Harper's is a little worse. It includes 21 bylined stories, but only three pieces from women writers: Lynn Freed, Deb Olin Unferth, and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. Barbara Dobrowska and Tom Littlewood translated a piece together, as did Clare Cavanagh and Adam Zagajewski.

A look at the page of contents for the January 13 New York Review of Books reveals 21 essays, including six-and-a-half by women critics: Mary Beard, Arlene Croce (who used to be the New Yorker's dance critic), Sue Halpern, Amy Knight, Margo Picken, and Ingrid D. Rowland; Econo-couple Paul Krugman and Robin Wells contribute a piece under a shared byline.

Among literary magazines, N+1's last issue had out of its 16 items only one piece of fiction, one essay, and one review by women contributors. (There is one un-bylined piece of commentary.)

The Believer is doing comparatively well. Out of 23 bylined pieces, its current issue boasts poetry by Tracy K. Smith, an essay by Unferth, a review by M. Lynx Qualey, and a conversation between John Ehle, Michael Ondaatje, Linda Spalding, and Leon Rooke. Two women (Thalia Field and Bianca Casady) are interviewed (by male writers) and three of the books reviewed in the issue are by women.

Although I'd take "Mag Hag", the author of the Jezebel article a little more seriously as a feminist if they didn't write: "A subscriber boycott is a pretty ballsy move, and I certainly hope it will make the editors there think differently."

Yeah, a "ballsy" move. Like something that someone who has balls would do. Who has balls again? Oh yes, men. Maleness=courage. Who doesn't have balls? Oh, right, pussies.

OMFG - with friends like that...

Anyway, since this article from back in January, the New Yorker appears to have changed its gender balance NOT AT ALL. I'm sure the New Yorker's not the only one. But I'm not ambitious enough to track all those magazines (and the Atlantic and Vanity Fair are pretty right-wing anyway) so I'll stick with the one I subscribe to.

The New Yorker Parity Report
A regular report on the gender parity - or lack thereof - of the current issue of The New Yorker based on table of contents by-lines
Includes fiction, non-fiction, poems. Does not include illustrations.

A score of 50% means that half of all writers in the issue are female.
A score of greater than 50% would mean more female than male writers. This never happens.

Parity change from previous week: +7.14%

November 14, 2011

Total writers - 21
male - 15
female - 6
gender parity score: 28.57%

Last week's score
Total writers - 14
male - 11
female - 3
gender parity score: 21.43%