So the New York Review of Books sent its e-subscribers a cheery note:
Below you will find links to the first forty-nine posts published on the NYRblog since its inception last month. If you haven’t been following the blog, we invite you to visit, participate in the comments, and send us your thoughts. You can also follow the Review online via Facebook and Twitter , or through our RSS feed.
Sounds jolly, until you scroll down and notice that among those 49 bloggers are two, and only two, women writers. The percentage isn’t immediately obvious because two articles are co-authored, but I make the percentage of women authors 4%.
That is remarkable. That’s what the percentage of full professors in physics used to look like before NSF and others got going on correcting the situation. Now women show up in all sorts of fields. For goodness sakes, what is going on with the NYRB?
Is there a kind of male intellectual approach that shows up across many disciplines and that the NYR particularly values? It would be interesting to figure out if that is so and why. For example, why would they ask John Searle to write on Boghossian’s Fear of Knowledge, rather than some feminist philosopher who might have been more balanced? Did they think of the topic as sort of a guys’ thing? Or perhaps they don’t know any women working in the field, much like our colleagues?
There’s a lot of regret that there aren’t more public intellectuals that gets expressed when we profess woe at the state of public discourse. Perhaps if women have more venues, the dearth would seem less.
In all fairness: I haven’t counted up the occurrences of women authors in the published journal. In addition, the NYRB responded to an earlier complaint of ours, so I assume such issues matter to them at least a bit.