There are more women writing today than ever before, but what kind of recognition are they receiving? Well, not as much as you might think.
My teacher distributed a handout the other day in class with the following statistics, which she found in an article by Amy King on the VIDA: Women In Literary Arts website. They show that, in terms of prominent book awards and “best of” lists, gender equality hasn’t changed at all.
Check out these startling gender distribution statistics for, not 1950, but 2009:
Amazon- Top 100 Editor’s Picks 2009
Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2009
Innovator’s Award- 1 Man
Robert Kirsch Award- 1 Man
LA Times Favorite Fiction 2009
LA Times Favorite Nonfiction 2009
The National Book Awards 2009
Fiction- 1 Man
Nonfiction- 1 Man
Poetry- 1 Man
Young People’s Literature- 1 Man
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009
Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of 2009
Washington Post Best Books of 2009
Slate- Best Reads of 2009
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1948-2009
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1950-2009
U.S. Poet Laureate 1937-2009
© 2010 VIDA
Author: Amy King
As a young poet, these statistics are utterly dissuading. Here I was thinking that the powerful voices of Adrienne Rich and Sharon Olds had forged a way for future women writers.
However discouraging these numbers are, they are still important to acknowledge. We have a long way to go.