Women continue to be under represented in review media. Though women publish roughly half the books, and statistically buy more books then men, the number of reviews published in major news outlets don’t reflect this. In 2011, almost half the books reviewed written and reviewed by men (44%). The remaining numbers: 18% men reviewing women, 15% women reviewing men, and 23% women reviewing women. It gets even worse when you drill down publication by publication.
That’s 62% of reviews published in Canada, were written by men, most of them of men’s books. CWILA has already taken steps to counter that, in creating a Critic-in-Residence program, which encourages women “foster vital criticism that promotes public awareness of women’s literary and critical presence in Canadian letters,” and comes with a stipend of $3000.
CWILA has interviewed editors from many major publications, shares essays, posts writing calls, maintains an active mailing list, and fosters community among women writers across a wide variety of disciplines. It’s a fantastic organization, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
If you’re not already a member, you can join here. If you are, but want to help even more (bless your heart), you can find out more about CWILA and what your donation will help fund.
There are a few projects on the go, and it’s important to keep track of what’s happening, and celebrating progress. Many of the editors interviewed were surprised to see how poorly they faired at gender parity, and, hopefully, have made adjustments to counter this, which should be reflected in the 2012 count.