Update: Editors respond to VIDA stats on female writers

Recent stats from VIDA that showed how few women are getting their work published in literary magazines and journals had us and many others asking questions but coming up with few answers.

Now, we hear from the people who decide what makes it into those publications. Elissa Strauss at The Sisterhood blog sent letters to the editors of the New Yorker, the New Republic, the New York Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine, and the Atlantic, asking for their thoughts on the gender imbalance. The responses Strauss received (all replied except the Atlantic editor), published in full, all agree on one point: things need to change.

The longest and most candid response comes from Jonathan Chait, of the New Republic (a writer who has the title of senior editor, though he doesn’t hire or fire or comission pieces). Still, Chait is not short on insight into the workings of the magazine; he dives into the issue and addresses a number of factors, including societal influence—he states that “socialization predisposes boys to be more interested both in producing and consuming opinion journalism.” He, like a few other respondents, concedes there is only so much editors can do; after hearing from the editors, Strauss comes to a similar conclusion.

Read the rest of the reponses, and all of Strauss’s reaction, here.

Posted on February 24, 2011 at 7:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply