The nonprofit VIDA: Women in Literary Arts has released its annual VIDA Count, which analyzes gender parity—or imbalance—at literary magazines. This year's report shows some industry-wide improvement, both at magazines reflected in the main count and in the secondary count, which analyzes the larger literary landscape, even as that landscape continues to skew male in terms of publications.
Last year, only two of the 15 major literary magazines analyzed in the main VIDA count published more women writers than men, and at eight of the 15 publications pieces by women comprised less than 40% of all articles published. This year saw marked improvements: four of the top 15 publications published more women writers than men, and pieces by women comprised less than 40% of all articles at only six of those 15 this year.
The three magazines that ran the most women writers in 2017--Granta, Poetry, and Tin House--remained at the top in terms of representation for women, with essays by women making up 64.6% of Tin House's output and rocketing it to #1. The improvement, however, is mitigated by the knowledge that this was Tin House's penultimate VIDA Count, as the magazine shuttered in June of this year.
The most significant improvements came at Poetry magazine, which increased its publication of nonbinary writers by 9.3%; the Boston Review, which published a whopping 15.8% more essays by women; and Tin House, which saw a 14.8% rise in pieces by women published. Representation at The Paris Review continued to improve this year under Emily Nemens, with a 6.1% increase in work published by women and 1.2% increase in published work by nonbinary writers.
The New York Review of Books, despite a 3.9% increase in published work by women, continues to trail the pack, with 72.8% of its content written by men. The Atlantic, meanwhile, published no work by nonbinary authors in 2018, the count found, and was second to last in terms of publishing women as well, with a drop of 2.8% from last year for a total of 33.6% of its work.
At smaller magazines, improvements were more widespread. The Believer magazine, where last year only 33.3% of pieces published were written by women and which reviewed zero books by women, saw a whopping 18.3% increase this year in pieces published by women, which made up 51.6% of its content. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern topped that list, with 70.6% of its content written by women, albeit without any pieces by nonbinary writers; Ninth Letter saw a 9.2% decrease in writing by women, but an 11.6% increase in publication of works by nonbinary writers, which made up 12.7% of its work. Pleiades and n+1 both saw double digit improvement in their publication of work by women.