Each year VIDA, Women in Literary Arts runs statistics on the number of men and women published by literary journals and publications. They began keeping records in 2010, helping to shed light on the lack of equitable gender distribution in the literary arts. The organization has grown immensely in just a small time, largely in part due to the frustration behind the number of women who are grossly underrepresented in prominent critical and/or commercial literary venues. (Just take a look at their site. It’s unnerving to see the disparity.)
Criticisms have been raised from publications who take offense in the statistics. Citing anything from coincidence to the skew in numbers due to the number of men who submit over women, as reason for the statistical gap. If you’re at all interested, VIDA has fielded many of these criticisms with a very thorough answer here. And while there may be some validity behind the argument made by those publications who coincidentally have published more men than women, the fact remains that women are largely underrepresented by too many prominent venues for this to be the sole reasoning. Regardless of your stance, it’s an interesting subject to examine and watch.
Though VIDA tends to focus on the heavy hitters: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, etc., we wanted to take the opportunity to examine our own writers from The Masters Review 2012. Our selection process is completely blind. We read stories. If we like them, they’re passed on to more readers, until our favorites reach the shortlist. Only once our stories are selected do we identify and contact authors. This year, out of ten authors published, nine were women. And while our numbers were truly coincidental, we’re proud to represent nine truly wonderful women. We’re even prouder of our ten as a whole.