Crashing through the gender parity barrier

2019 was the first year in Stella Count history in which more books by women were reviewed in the Australian book pages we survey than books by men. This trend continued in 2020: books authored by women are now the focus of 55% of the reviews published, up from 53% in 2019.

The Stella Count is the leading annual statistical analysis of gender bias in the field of book reviewing in Australia. Begun in 2012, it collects and interprets data on the gender of authors and reviewers, length of review, and genre of books reviewed.

Top-level findings from the 2019/2020 Stella Counts:

  • Women authors now receive equal attention in Australian book reviews for the first time in the Stella Count’s history.
  • 9 out of 12 of the publications we survey continue to review the same number, or more, of women authors as men authors.
  • Review length: Large reviews continue to be a domain that women authors and reviewers struggle to access equally.
  • ‘Gender siloing’ continues to be a feature of the Australian book reviewing landscape – i.e. men tend to review men and women tend to review women.
  • Genre: Women authors feature strongly in reviews of fiction and children’s and YA literature, but are making inroads when it comes to the reviewing of nonfiction books.
  • Gender: Non-binary authors and reviewers are becoming more visible in our counting. 

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Every donation is important to us and allows Stella to continue its role as the leading voice for gender equality and cultural change in Australian literature.

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