The 2014 Ploughshares Count

Graphic reading "Overall totals: Female 52, Male 45"VIDA released its much-awaited 2014 Count last night, contributing important data to a conversation that seems to have been getting louder over the past couple of months. The gender disparity in the world of literature is far-reaching, with every facet of publishing coming, quite rightly, under scrutiny. We at Ploughshares take this issue very seriously and, though we don’t qualify for the VIDA count because of our use of guest editors, wanted to make our statistics easily available to our readers.

We took a count of the authors published in our 2014 issues (our Solos Omnibus Volume 2 and those issues edited by Jean Thompson, Percival Everett, and our staff editors), and broke them down by genre.

Our statistics, like those of The Conium Review, are the result of organic publication decisions; we didn’t introduce a quota for female authors or a desired ratio. You can see, however, that our commitment to publishing diverse perspectives has resulted in a Count we’re proud to share.

A graphic reading "Genre Totals: Non-Fiction: Female 4, Male 2. Fiction: Female 75, Male 16. Poetry: Female 19, Male 24. Miscellaneous: Female 4, Male 3.


We know, though, that we aren’t perfect. We also have yet to create a Count of our blog writers, of the books reviewed on our blog, or of the Women of Color we publish–though these are all statistics we’re looking into compiling, and presenting to our readers, in the future. We know, too, that we could go even further in this analysis of equality, checking our commitment to balanced representation in a myriad of other ways. This Count, then, is merely a small piece of a conversation that will continue to happen for years to come.

In publishing our Count, we aim to help VIDA push this important discussion forward. We fully support VIDA’s mission to raise awareness of the gender and racial disparities in publishing, and invite other non-qualifying publications (and small presses and large presses and houses) to total up their gender Counts, too. We need to take responsibility as a community for constantly improving our inclusiveness.

And if you’re headed to AWP this week, make sure to stop by VIDA’s presentation gala for the 2015 VIDA Awards.

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