VIDA is a research-driven organization that monitors and exposes inequalities between contemporary male and female writers. They do an annual count every year (their methodology is explained on their website) to compare the genders of book reviewers at major publications, if one gender is reviewed significantly more than the other and so on. As mentioned, their 2013 count revealed major imbalances at publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times Book Review.
VIDA’S 2014 findings show an improvement in some areas, but ongoing imbalances in others. As you read the report, keep in mind that VIDA admit that numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they do raise questions that are similar to other organizations that have also been monitoring possible gender imbalance, or even bias.
This year, VIDA took the count a step further by trying to establish the number of women of color on the literary scene. It was a challenge and obstacles had to be addressed, one of which is the sensitive issue of racism. What really struck me (although not as a complete surprise) is the pathetically small representation of women of color on the literary scene. VIDA says that their dataset is incomplete, but this too as improving, as participants become more open to revealing information in the hope of positive change. Let’s hope so.