ACRL Women & Gender Studies Section Blog

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The New VIDA Numbers Are Out

…and while they’re somewhat higher, they’re still pretty low. What, pray tell, are VIDA numbers? The VIDA Count is an annual tally of the number of female  reviewers, female authored pieces, and reviews of female authored books published by a core list of influential literary publications. These publications include titles such as The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books. Essentially, it’s a way to gauge how many women are.. Read More

Gender Composition of Scholarly Publications

Researchers at the University Washington’s Eigenfactor Project have produced a gender browser that shows how many female authors were published in JSTOR journals between 1665 and 2011. A few pertinent facts: For the overall period (1665-2011), only 22% of authorships of any author position are women Women had the highest percentage of authorships (37.3%) for Education Women were the least represented in Mathematics (6.6%) During the period of 1990-2011, the overall.. Read More

Not Magical, Not Realism | The New Republic

Not Magical, Not Realism | The New Republic.  Naomi Daremblum reviews Isabel Allende’s latest novel, Island Beneath the Sea. It may be heresy to challenge the literary reputation of Isabel Allende, but reading Island Beneath the Sea one cannot but conclude that some essential inspiration and vitality is now missing from her work. Yes, she once gave female characters their due as central actors in Latin American history and politics;.. Read More

The Brazilian Sphinx

Lorrie Moore reviews Benjamin Moser’s, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, at the New York Review of Books. Before beginning this review, I took a quick unscientific survey: Who had read the work of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector? When I consulted with Latin American scholars (well, only four of them) they grew breathless in their praise. She was a goddess; she was Brazilian literature’s greatest writer. Further.. Read More

Rebecca Donner reviews the novel, A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert, at Multigenerational novels about women often elicit analogies to tapestries–relationships are interwoven, themes are intertwined, and there is much braiding of narrative strands. Let us not likewise domesticate Kate Walbert’s remarkable novel A Short History of Women, which traces five generations back to Dorothy Trevor Townsend, a Cambridge-educated suffragette who commits suicide for her cause. Read.. Read More

Poems from the Women’s Movement

Elizabeth Lund reviews Poems from the Women’s Movement by Honor Moore for the Christian Science Monitor. This “landmark collection” is powerful precisely because it is not a manifesto. Instead, the power of these poems comes from the fact that one writer after another — from the 1960s to the 1980s — dared to say what hadn’t been voiced before. In doing so, they helped other women — from scholars to.. Read More

Bad Girls Go Everywhere

Gina Bellafante reviews Jennifer Scanlon’s Bad Girls Go Everywhere The Life of Helen Gurley Brown for the New York Times. Beginning in the early 1960s, Brown, who had married at 37 and remained childless, advocated for the primacy of work in women’s lives, rejecting essentialist ideas about motherhood and believing women ought to delay marriage, or forgo it entirely, largely on the grounds that it made them less fun. Without.. Read More

Review of A Jury of Her Peers

Katha Pollitt reviews Elaine Showalters, A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx. The 350-year span of A Jury of Her Peers takes in more than 250 writers and covers sweeping tides of history and social change. It’s a long book, but it doesn’t feel long at all because it is so full of information, ideas, stories, and characters. The celebrated get their due–Harriet.. Read More

Sources for Bad News

Figures for U.S. women who are living in poverty, and those who are unemployed, are found on Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census bureau web sites listed.