Support for our Female Authors in book reviews needs to be improved. August 2, 2016 – Posted in: Blog

Female Authors are underrepresented in Book reviews. This is a substantial form of promotion for an author. Time to consider if this is fair and equitable.

Thankyou Books and Publishing for bringing this issue to our attention. Give some thought for our female authors when you read local reviews

1 August 2016

The 2015 Stella Count, which compiles statistics showing how many books by women and men were reviewed in Australian publications and the gender of reviewers, has been revealed.

Overall, 59% of reviews were for books by male authors and 41% of reviews were for books by female authors. Last year’s survey found 58% of reviews were for books written by men.

Twelve of the thirteen publications analysed reviewed more books by male authors than books by female authors. Again, the Australian Financial Review magazine had the largest disparity, with 83% (up from 77% last year) of its book reviews on male-authored books and 17% on books by women.

Other publications that increased its proportion of reviews of books written by male authors included the Courier-Mail (70% male, up from 56%), the Australian Book Review (66%, up from 62%), the Monthly (65%, up from 62%), the Saturday Paper (64%, up from 63%) and the West Australian (58% male, up from 56%).

Books+Publishing was the only publication to review more books by women authors (65%) than books by male authors (35%).

For the second year in a row the count also analysed the gender of reviewers. Prize manager Veronica Sullivan wrote that ‘in most publications, reviews by men of female-authored books constituted between 4-15% of the total review coverage, even when the number of reviews written by male reviewers outnumbered those by female reviewers’. ‘Whether by accident or design, a cause or an effect of reviewing processes, these tendencies among review publications perpetuate cultural biases that suggest that writing by men as universal, and writing by women as for women only,’ Sullivan said.

A ‘similar prioritisation of books by male authors’ was also seen in the size of reviews, with publications that publish reviews in a range of different lengths assigning longer reviews to books by men.