In 2014, only 27 percent of authors represented in The Times Literary Supplement were women, only 40 percent from The Paris Review, only 29 percent from The Nation. These numbers are courtesy of the annual VIDA count, an effort to shed light on gender inequity in the Western literary world.
Although the count, in its fifth year, has promoted positive change — The New York Times has steadily upped its coverage of women, and writer Joanna Walsh declared 2014 the Year of Reading Women as a result — there is still much ground to cover, as the above statistics only begin to indicate. Books about women still don’t win major prizes; books by women are still likely to be packaged as unserious.
To begin to address these discrepancies, author Kamila Shamsie published “a provocation” in the Guardian this month: Let 2018, the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.K., be a Year of Publishing Women.