Via Annalee Newitz’s Twitter feed, I see that Strange Horizons has done a gender breakdown of reviews in SF publications, and learns that more sf/f by men is reviewed than sf/f by women. This made me curious as to how my Big Idea feature here at Whatever has been doing, gender-wise, in terms of authors/editors featured.
So I tallied up the gender of writers who contributed Big Idea pieces between 4/23/12 and 4/24/13 (I’m counting tomorrow’s Big Idea piece, as I already have it in hand). Here’s how it turned out:
44 men wrote or co-wrote Big Idea pieces during that span of time;
48 women wrote or co-wrote Big Idea pieces.
Some notes on that: One, Big Idea pieces aren’t reviews, although they perform one of the publicity-related functions of reviews, i.e., raising awareness of the work in question. Also, not every Big Idea piece was for a science fiction or fantasy work, although most were (there were several works in other genres, including non-fiction), and a couple of them were for non-books, including one for a video game and one for a calendar. The male/female division on individual works featured is closer to 50/50 because three Big Ideas were co-written by women who wrote/edited the same book, while one book was co-written by a man and a woman.
(No trans authors in the mix, so far as I am aware; if there were I would have tallied them by their preferred gender. No authors who would identify as genderfluid, as far as I know.)
I should also note that I don’t generally actively check to see if I’ve gender-balanced Big Idea posts over any span of time; I mostly operate the Big Idea on a “first-come, first-served” basis in terms of slotting people in. It would be interesting to see whether the gender balance of the Big Idea feature is this balanced over time. Someone else will need to check that, however, since I’m not planning to do it at the moment.
But in any event, interesting data. And I don’t mind admitting being happy that the Big Idea gender mix seems to be mostly balanced.