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CWILA’s 2013 count shows “dismal” gender gap in Canadian book reviews

CWILA 2014Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, an organization advocating for gender parity in literary criticism, has released its 2013 count, and the results are not favourable for women authors and reviewers.

The annual report – which tracks the ratio of male to female authors and critics represented in Canadian literary media (including Quill & Quire), newspapers, and websites – expanded its reach this year to include four French-language publications and two metropolitan newspapers (Toronto Star and Halifax’s Chronicle Herald). In its summary, CWILA suggests that the reported widening gender gap can be partially attributed to the new publications, as well as the treatment of co-authored books as a separate category.

In total, CWILA volunteers counted 5,613 book reviews (4,354 English; 1,259 French) published in 2013. Here are some highlights:

  • Overall, 57 per cent of all reviews were for books written by men, with 37 per cent authored by women and 0.14 per cent by non-binary authors (the remaining percentage of reviews are by male and female co-authors, or the gender is unknown)
  • When looking specifically at Canadian titles, 51 per cent of all reviews were of books written by men, with 47 per cent authored by women and 0.14 per cent by non-binary authors
  • Male reviewers wrote 52 per cent of all reviews, with 47 per cent by female reviewers and 0.12 per cent by non-binary authors (the remaining percentage are by male and female co-reviewers, or the gender is unknown)

A complete breakdown by publication and a explanation of CWILA’s methodology is available on the organization’s website.